Aberdeen schools do the double and treble in winning environmental awards

Two Aberdeen school are celebrating once again after winning national environmental awards in consecutive years, it was announced today (Wednesday 5 June).

St Machar Academy has become part of a select band of secondary schools to achieve and retain a prestigious Green Flag award from Eco-Schools Scotland while Hazlehead School has achieved its third Green Flag in a row in the Keep Scotland Beautiful initiative.

St Machar’s award letter praised the academy’s Eco-committee and measuring and monitoring activities which has seen more bins installed onsite. The school was also hailed for embedding its ecology-based approach to other initiatives such as John Muir expeditions.

Hazlehead School was lauded by Eco-Schools Scotland for creating a new garden space which has attracted butterflies and bees and for its Trash to Treasure project where pupils create something new from discarded materials. The school also received praise for encouraging walking and cycling to school and for working in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Scottish Cycling RSPB, SSPCA and others.

The achievement was pupil-led with the guidance of teacher Amy Dunnett who submitted the application and met the seven criteria requited to achieve the award. The criteria include involving the local community, devising an action plan and environmental statement and linking the school’s environmental work to the curriculum.

Food growing and harvesting, measuring and reducing food waste, opening a school boutique were just some of the innovations introduced by Orchard Brae pupils who are now planning on writing a school cookbook which will be developed in an environmentally sustainable way.

Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “My warmest congratulations go to both pupils and staff at Hazlehead and St Machar on their wonderful achievements.

“To win Green Flags on multiple occasion shows a tremendous commitment and no little hard work and imagination on everyone’s part and all concerned can be really proud of the inspiring work they are doing in leading the way in enhancing the environment of Aberdeen”.

Barbara Jones, Head Teacher at Hazlehead School, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive our third Green Flag and I am hugely proud of the pupils for their hard efforts in achieving this award. Hazlehead Primary is fully committed to the Eco Agenda and feel that now more than ever, we need to be educating our pupils about our changing planet and the importance of how we need to work together to meet the challenges that we are facing as this will have significant implications for their future lives.

“We are instilling in our pupils’ core values of respect and care for our world and encouraging them to take action where appropriate. We are incredibly fortunate to be making this journey with a range of partners who have made valuable contributions to our work. We look forward to embarking on new projects as we strive for our fourth Green Flag”.

Joanne Hesford, Head Teacher at St Machar Academy, said: “We are extremely proud of the achievements of pupils and staff in securing this third Eco Scotland Green Flag for St Machar Academy. Especially so, when we are one of only a few secondary schools in the country to do so!

“This year, for the first time, we were able to offer a horticulture class as part of the curriculum for a group of young people. This has proven to be extremely successful where hands on practical experiences has brought science to life. We plan to expand this curricular offer next session.

“As a school community of responsible citizens, we are already working towards our next Eco-award. One area of focus will be reducing our carbon footprint through the amount of paper we use by embracing new technologies and promoting ease of access for all by developing our move to a paperless communication system”.

Photographs: show 1) Hazlehead School pupils proudly show off their third Green Flag award

2) Green fingers to Green Flag -Councillor John Wheeler joins St Machar Academy pupils L-R Miles Toon, Josh Brebner, Kacper Remer, Mia Whyte, Rosa McQueen and John Quinlan in the school garden which has helped them to a second Green Flag award