Local News from North & South Tyneside

Gardeners of the future claim top award

Blooming marvellous pupils from Collingwood Primary School in North Shields are celebrating achieving an eco-school’s green flag award and receiving Department for Education (DfE) recognition.

Known as the school’s ‘Eco Warriors’, the pupils got their hands dirty with a mission of creating a sustainable school playground for their fellow pupils to enjoy.

The spacious area is now thriving with wildflowers blossoming, bird feeders encouraging wildlife and seasonable vegetables growing tall.

The school community means a lot to the pupils, and they make sure everyone benefits from their project. They host frequent litter picks to keep the area tidy and safe for wildlife, help to collect and distribute winter clothing to those who need it, and they even got their parents and Northumberland Wildlife Trust involved in helping to dig the area for their wildflowers to grow.

The children have their eyes on the future, with even more ambitious plans in place. A new polytunnel will become home to fruit and vegetables which each class will nurture; they hope to access funding for fruit trees and there are plans to give the outdoor classroom a new lease of life.

Their hard work has caught the attention of national organisations, with the school proudly receiving an eco-school green flag award and being shortlisted at the DfE’s upcoming sustainability awards.

Proud teacher Stephanie Ingleby has been leading the school’s Eco Warriors project and next week she’ll be sharing a spotlight on the school’s work at the DfE’s education estates conference in Manchester.

Harriet Bland is the proud headteacher at Collingwood Primary School, speaking of the award she said: “Our children are aware, now more than ever, that changes need to be made to ensure our planets’ survival. Due to current news, they know that it up to us to act on it.

“They are incredibly passionate about sustainability and focusing on the things they can do now, to improve their future. For many of our children, the school outdoor space is their only daily access to vegetation and gardening opportunities, and so we feel it important as educators to give them those resources to nurture and guide their drive to help the planet”

Cllr Stephen Phillips, Cabinet member for Inclusion, Employment and Skills at North Tyneside Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see these wonderful young people receive the recognition they deserve for the hard work they’ve put into making their school playground a thriving area for nature and wildlife.

“Their generation really have their eyes on the future and it’s projects like these that leave a lasting, positive impact on our environment, while it also gives them skills which they’ll embrace for the rest of their lives.

“I wish them the best of luck for the upcoming Department for Education’s award. We’re very proud of them representing the borough and showcasing their efforts on a national stage.”

The eco-schools green flag award is an annual acknowledgment, reward, and celebration of the ecological achievements of young people.