Holy Trinity’s Green-School’s committee is quite large and consists of two students from each class from 1st to 6th. There are also a couple of teachers and parents on the committee as well as the Caretaker.
The selection method was left up to each individual class /teacher. Some were elected by class vote, some were randomly selected from a hat and others were chosen by the teacher. Following meetings the pupils feed back any decisions or actions to be taken first to the class teacher who will then decide whether the committee members or the teacher informs the class. As the First Class and Infants are on the same corridor, the First class reps feed-back the information and decisions taken to the Infants.
Because reading the meter was not an option for this school they decided to carry out a manual audit as part of their Environmental Review. But because the school in growing so rapidly, from 20 pupils to 267 pupils in 6 years, the review showed an increase in water consumption, instead the committee decided to focus on education and awareness around reducing water consumption.
Also following on from the Environmental Review it was discovered that there were no basins for art wash-up or in staff room sink and that there were a couple of leaks present. Following a survey is was revealed that there was a very poor level of awareness among staff, pupils and wider school community of how much water we use /waste on daily basis; the numerous ways we use water every day and the amount of water used in these daily activities (teeth brushing, toilet flushing, etc.)
The committee then drew up an Action Plan. The Environmental Review had revealed some issues and the first actions were to resolve these such as locate and repair leaks in Senior Infants & 3rd class and replace any missing plugs and purchase basins for art room and staff room. Other actions included: establishing Water Watchers in every class to monitor taps, leaks, plugs in sinks etc..., organising a “Turn it Off” (taps) campaign and have a tooth brushing demonstration at assembly.
Each class became involved in various lessons and projects based around the theme of water, for example Senior Infants looked at ‘Water on the Globe and Water in Sports & Leisure’, First class made Underwater Treasure Chests using recycled materials and also learned about rainbows, Third class made a large Ocean Mosaic using plastic bottle tops and Fifth class learned about coral reefs.
The school and wider community has been kept informed on an ongoing basis of the Green Schools work through: Green Committee feedback, weekly assemblies, Green School Notice Board, school website, letters and notes home, questionnaires / surveys sent home, ten top tips on water use to each family, school and Parent Association Newsletter, Holy Trinity Times (Children's Publication) and Articles in Panorama (community magazine sold in local shops).
For their Day of Action Day the school took part in An Taisce's ‘Low Water Lunch Day’ event.
Both staff and children were amazed at many of the facts they discovered about water in the world. "Education is the key to change" according to Nelson Mandela so the hope is that the pupils, staff and parents of Holy Trinity N.S. will make changes to their water use as a result of the Green Flag Programme.
Positive feedback from the children indicates that pester power is working well and many changes are being made in the homes. Loretta Redmond, Green-School’s Coordinator, Holy Trinity NS.