Yarm School is celebrating after winning an Eco-Schools Green Flag Award for the fifth time.

Due to lockdown restrictions, this year’s competition was assessed virtually, meaning the school needed to provide robust evidence to support its application.

Yarm is a ‘zero to landfill’ establishment, recycling all waste generated by the school in different ways. Any food waste is sent to a waste food processing plant, where the waste decomposes and produces a gas to be re-used for energy.

The School is also in the process of replacing old fluorescent tube bulbs which are less environmentally friendly than newer LED bulbs. The old bulbs are disposed of appropriately and the components are recycled.

Eco-reps gathered suggestions from pupils throughout the School on how to improve the School’s eco-code and redesigned it themselves. They presented the design to the School, encouraging environmental awareness.

Headmaster Huw Williams said: “We take our social responsibilities incredibly seriously and recognise the importance of environmental awareness in education.  Our pupils are at the heart of the school’s efforts to meet the standards required to earn this accolade.

“We are delighted to accept our fifth Green Flag Award and we will continue to develop our Eco-schools Action Plan to enable us to further improve our ‘zero to landfill’ reputation, and continue to engage and educate our pupils on these issues.”

Gina Leary, Yarm’s Eco-School’s Coordinator said: “It is a very proud moment to achieve this fifth Green Flag Award. This is a fantastic achievement, especially given the lockdown and the recent remote learning experiences.

“I am tremendously grateful to everyone who helped us gain this accreditation, and particularly to our pupil Eco-reps who carefully went through our Eco-schools Action Plan and Environmental Review via Google Meets, to evidence all of the things we do as a school.”

The Eco-Schools programme provides a unique opportunity that empowers pupils to lead change within their school and have a positive impact in their wider community. The programme encourages pupils of all ages and abilities to work together to develop their knowledge and environmental awareness. Independent research into the Eco-Schools programme in England found evidence of the positive impacts on pupils, including increased confidence, development of leadership skills, improved pupil well-being and behaviour and greater motivation at school.