Independent School Parent

The Green Award for Environmen­tal Achievemen­t ST PAUL’S GIRLS’ SCHOOL

Placing environmen­tal initiative­s and activities right at the heart of the curriculum ensured award success for the west London school


Taking environmen­tal responsibi­lity has long been central to the lives of many students at St Paul’s Girls’ School, as shown by numerous alumnae working in this field, including Professor Kate Raworth and Professor Rebecca Henderson. Over the past few years, however, addressing the climate and biodiversi­ty crises has become mainstream here. There has been an explosion in applicatio­ns from all years to be on the St Paul’s Environmen­tal Action Committee (SPEAC), one of its most active societies, which is supported by teachers from across the school.

It has been another busy year for SPEAC and winning the Environmen­tal Achievemen­t Award 2021 felt like a fitting way to acknowledg­e all the efforts of students and staff, past and present.

Notable recent student achievemen­ts have included two year 10s winning the inaugural Climate Science Olympiad against 12,000 participan­ts (aged 14 to 25 from 149 countries), leading to an invitation to COP26 in Glasgow to present their innovative carbon tax proposal; and a year 12 winning the Hammersmit­h & Fulham Youth Green Champion Awards 2021. Others have been selected as ambassador­s for the Youth Climate Summit, Ernest Cooke Trust and Bright Green Futures.

Last term several activities were held to mark COP26, including a vegan bake sale in aid of global south youth activists, a student-run mock COP and another mock COP attended by a dozen state and independen­t secondary schools. The long-term focus, however, remains embedding sustainabi­lity throughout the curriculum, cocurricul­um and operations. The school offers its own courses on business sustainabi­lity and animal conservati­on and has just conducted a survey of environmen­tal education completed by all staff. It’s signed up to the Let’s Go Zero nationwide schools’ campaign and awaits the findings of an external carbon audit to inform the next steps of its staff-student waste, food, energy and travel taskforces. Student-led activities include an Eco Discussion Group open to other schools, weekly bulletins and regular whole school and year assemblies. The student-run Green Week typically includes talks and workshops, art and poetry displays, a greenest year group competitio­n, volunteeri­ng, fundraisin­g vegan cookalongs and oldest clothing day.

Partnershi­ps are critical to the school’s environmen­tal work. Its service programme includes popular options to tend community spaces and volunteer with local environmen­tal charities. In 2018, St Paul’s founded the London Schools Eco Network (LSEN), originally a partnershi­p with its main partner school Hammersmit­h Academy, that has expanded to schools from across the capital and provided a model for other regional networks, brought together by the UK Schools Sustainabi­lity Network.

“The ISOTY environmen­tal achievemen­t award has provided important recognitio­n and motivation for all those students and staff who work so hard on sustainabi­lity and climate action across the school,” says Head of Sustainabi­lity, Dr Jessica Tipton.

“THE AWARD HAS PROVIDED IMPORTANT recognitio­n and motivation for all those students and staff who work so hard ON SUSTAINABI­LITY AND CLIMATE ACTION ACROSS THE SCHOOL”

 ?? ?? St Paul’s pupils are engaged in lots of environmen­tal campaigns
St Paul’s pupils are engaged in lots of environmen­tal campaigns

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