PUPILS have been celebrating after taking their eco-credentials to new heights.

Pickhill Church of England Primary School, near Thirsk, has been awarded the Green Flag accolade for its relentless work to care for the environment, becoming one of just 17 schools in the county to receive the honour.

To celebrate, a special Green Day was staged at the school which was attended by North Yorkshire County Council’s energy and sustainability team’s schools carbon reduction officer “Power-down’ Pete Bell.

He spent the day with children staging a host of activities including power-bike sessions and making snake draft excluders from tights and shredded newspaper to save on energy costs.

Head teacher Rowena Sykes said: “The environment is something we all feel passionately about and we are thinking all the time of ways to help. It is so important to teach the children to be environmentally aware and how to look after their world. No matter where you are or who you are you can make a difference.”

Children are encouraged to turn off lights and power down computers when they are not being used. They also take part in outdoor learning sessions, ranging from recognising animal tracks to looking after the school chickens which were hatched from eggs.

They have been making a compost heap, bird feeders, bug and bee hotels, hedgehog hides, frog abodes and grow their own vegetables using crop rotation methods to maintain soil quality and provide food for the community.

A voluntary eco-committee helps to plan and deliver assemblies to raise awareness on environmental issues with the help of teaching assistant Phillippa Moss.

Eco committee member Yasmin said: “This is important because we are helping the world as well as our school.” Fellow pupil Sebastian said: “I think we can make a difference if we all work together.”

The school’s outdoor learning expert Emma Lerigo said: “This is about learning about, maintaining and respecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Mrs Sykes added: “There is a physical element to it too and being outdoors also helps mental health and wellbeing. It provides an opportunity for every child to excel, whether that is academically or vocationally, and this boosts their resilience, self-confidence and independence.”