The national schools challenge in the summer asked both primary and secondary schools throughout Scotland to come up with an idea for making things last at their school. The thinking behind this year’s challenge was all about generating suggestions that might make a noticeable difference to schools and to the environment in general. Pupils were tasked with putting forward a proposal which would result in less waste at school, change the thought process of students and teachers when they have finished with school items and that could perhaps even reduce costs for schools.
The overall aim of the challenge remained the same as last year and that was to engage pupils to think about reuse, repair and recycling and the impact it has on the environment.
Schools were asked to submit a brief overview of their idea including:
- Details of their School and Eco Committee
- Details of their idea for making things last, with examples of the items they intend to reuse, repair or recycle
- Suggestions for communicating their idea to teachers, students and parents alike
- Plans on how they would engage the local community
- An explanation of how their idea would make a positive impact on their school, their community and the environment
We received some fantastic entries with some really innovative and novel ideas and after giving them all due consideration,we came up with our winners. Representatives from both schools were invited along on the day of the conference to receive their cheques and award certificates.
The winner, in the secondary school category, was Abercorn Secondary School, Glasgow. Abercorn is a school for students who require additional support for learning and their idea was to recycle disposable plastic bottles, using them to build a greenhouse to support their kitchen garden. Currently 50-100 bottles of water are distributed on a daily basis to pupils having school meals at Abercorn Secondary. The majority of these bottles are discarded as waste, therefore this fresh idea finds a new use for these bottles. The benefits to the pupils and the school include enhancing the school’s crop growing, providing vegetables for the school kitchen and enabling students to participate in environmentally friendly and therapeutic learning activities.
Our winner of the primary school category was Minard Primary School, by Inveraray. Minard Primary is a tiny school with just 5 children in it, however, they came up with a really innovative idea despite the small number of pupils! Minard’s idea was to reduce the amount of paper going into their recycling bins by converting it into paper bricks to sell to the community. Many residents in Minard, a small village on the western shores of Loch Fyne, have coal fires and rely on this form of heating in the winter therefore a positive link with the community will be made through them supplying these paper bricks.
The Schools Challenge is always the highlight of the day and this year was no exception