Make Earth hour happen
Make Earth Hour Matter
Saturday 25 March 2017, 8.30PM
WWF’s Earth Hour is an annual global celebration where people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the future of our planet.
Earth Hour is a global movement, which brings millions together across the world to call for greater action.
Last year a record 178 countries took part – a number that rises every year. From the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower to Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle, cities, towns and communities like ours across the world switch out their lights and come together for an hour, to join a global show of support for action on climate.
The Eco Committee have been busy making cards for their families and friends in an attempt to get as many people to join us as we can. This year we will have taken part for four consecutive years. Our message to you is please help us to protect our amazing planet as 1 in 6 species are in danger of extinction due to climate change. This is our world, help us to look after it.
The Eco Council are extremely proud to announce that we have been awarded the Eco schools Green Flag Award – the international mark for continued excellence in improving environmental performance and learning, awarded by Keep Britain Tidy.
We were visited by two assessors on 13th February. The assessors, Mr and Mrs Knappett were given a guided tour around our school, they were then given time to question the Eco Councillors about the many projects that we have taken part in, whilst looking at evidence in class and scrapbooks, finally they checked that our action plans were all relevant and up to date.
Some of the assessor’s comments were:
“It was an absolute joy meeting the children on the Eco Committee. Your Eco-Ants are an enthusiastic, passionate and caring group, who should continue with their efforts to make St. Francis a healthy, happy and environmentally friendly school”.
Everyone involved has worked really hard to gain this award, together we are very keen to stay green!
The Big Bird-Watch
The study of ornithology is happening here!
Well, we have started a frenzy here in school, over the last two months the Eco Council have all been engrossed in watching and identifying birds.
The children have been encouraged to get involved with as many of the activities as they possibly can.
Some of the activities have included:
Spotting, completing tally charts, making graphs and pie charts to show their results, writing bird facts, creating their own feathered friends, bird word searches, writing poems, alphabetically ordering 30 bird names, a scavenger hunt, making bird food and feeding the birds.
Last weekend, we set a homework challenge for the whole school so they too could be involved in our project and of course they all rose to the occasion. We have been overwhelmed by the magnificent response. It seems that everyone has enjoyed being part of this massive campaign. This week we will upload all of the data that we have collected for the RSPB.
Here at St Francis School we try our best to lend a helping hand to others. Over the last few months the Eco Council have been recycling old shoes to help our global link project. In total, so far we have collected and delivered 97 pairs of shoes to the Nuneaton Clarks shoe store. They have teamed up with Unicef to help fund education projects by raising money through shoe donations. Each shoe that we donate is guaranteed to change a child’s life in Africa. Shoes equal education equipment, these special school in a box resources can transform any space into a learning space. Every pair of shoes make a difference.
Thank You for helping us to make a difference!
We are also still collecting old spectacles for their African appeal, we donate to Smith and Varley opticians on a regular basis. Thank You for your continued support.
We are very proud of our year 6 children for extending a helping hand to the elderly and sick people in our community. They are taking part in a very important mass on Friday 10th February, they will support our parish by welcoming, reading, singing and serving, both at mass and afterwards at a special lunch. Each year the parishioners give wonderful feedback about how they have enjoyed the day.
The gardening club have had a busy time sorting out the key stage two patches. We have laid bark with the help of Pete our caretaker and produced another habitat area with logs for bugs and insects to hide in the crevices.
We have also started to sow some vegetables, the onions, garlic and rhubarb are all in the ground. Inside we are tackling spinach, peas and cress.
Our herbs and strawberries are struggling at the moment but we are doing everything we can to nurture and save them from the weather.
A few bedding plants have been planted, our daffodil bulbs are in and some wild flower seeds have been shaken in different areas.
We are looking forward to seeing and smelling the gardens later in the year.
Switch off Fortnight
14th - 27th November 2016
During switch off fortnight the Eco Council thought seriously about how and where we use energy, we looked both at home and at school to see what types of energy we were using on a daily basis.
Here is the list we came up with:
Our alarm clocks, radios, televisions, lights, heating, water supply - boilers, electric toothbrushes, kettles, cookers, hobs, microwaves, fridges, freezers, fuel - cars, IPads, computers/laptops and projectors.
We use all of these things every day and they all use an enormous amount of energy. We realised very quickly that everything we eat or use has needed energy to make it. So our mission began.
Firstly, our switch off monitors completed a survey to see how many unused items had been left on, they then set to work and encouraged everyone to take responsibility in turning off – not putting on standby. Each morning, they visited every classroom to promote this saving not wasting message and they managed to convince all of the teachers to have at least one day of energy saving, where they would not use any electrical items for lessons. At lunch and break times, the switch off monitors stood next to all of the playground exits and encouraged the last child out to close the door in order to keep our heat in. To close our campaign, Miss Noone helped us to make a video this will be uploaded to this webpage soon.
Spring Term 2017
Tidying the Year 1 Outdoor Area
On Tuesday, the Eco Council helped Miss Behan, Mrs Blackwell and Miss Kazimirow to tidy and spruce up the overgrown Year 1 outdoor area.
We chopped down the dead sunflowers and collected the seeds from them to plant in the warmer Spring weather.
We dug up the weeds, and cleared away the soil, which is preparing the garden for our outdoor working area in the summer term.
The Year 1 children are very excited to see the changes to their outdoor environment, and Miss Behan is very grateful to the Eco Team for all of their help.
What’s Under Your Feet?
In Science last week, Year 1 took part in an investigation by The Pod (as part of our school’s Eco Council project), called ‘What’s Under Your Feet?’ which involved observing the different types of birds that visit the school and the surrounding areas. The weather was a little bit drizzly and cool, so this was a variable for the results, and we also looked to see if the type of soil and the types of food (such as worms or seed), affected which types of birds were present.
We counted 32 birds in total, and out of those, there were five different types of birds.
We made tally charts to collect our results, and we even drew them with a ruler!
We are going to redo the investigation again in January and March and see if the weather, climate and seasons have an effect on the results.
Year 1 really enjoy taking part in the Eco Council projects, and this week they are going to be looking at ways to save energy, as part of Switch Off Fortnight.
It’s been a busy first half of term for the Eco Council.
In the first week, the Eco Council were very busy digging and tidying the front of the school to make it look appealing and inviting to parents and visitors.
They even found a worm and a snail during the hard work.
There has been lots of litter picking, bird-watching and saving energy since we have
come back to school, too!
Walk to School Week was a real success, many of our children walked, biked or came on their scooters to school. Each morning all of the key stage two children completed two laps of the playground before entering their classrooms. The whole school walked up to church on the Friday as it was St. Francis’ Feast Day! The Eco Council also made a survey and bar graphs to show how many people walk, cycle and come in the car or on the bus to school.
(Eco – Club Pictures)
How You Can Help: We need your Recycling!
The Eco Council are collecting spectacles, batteries and old mobile phones for recycling.
Two members come around to each classroom every morning to collect any recycling that you may have, so just bring it into school and the Eco team will sort out the rest!
Old Clothes to be Donated and Shoes for Africa
As well as technological recycling, the Eco Council also collect clothes that are no longer worn and we donate them in exchange for help towards our bird-feeders and Eco equipment this helps keep
St Francis a clean, tidy and Eco-friendly school.
We are also part of a new scheme in partnership with Clarks Shoes.
If you have any old and unwanted shoes, bring them into school to recycle and for every pair of old shoes we collect, Clarks will send a brand new pair of shoes to orphaned children
in Ethiopia, Africa.
Year 1 have already started collected and donating unwanted pairs of shoes, so Well Done, Year 1!
Eco In and Outside of the Classroom
This half term, Year 1 have been learning all about trees and leaves.
Year 1 have been drawing diagrams and labelling the parts of a tree, writing Autumn poems, collecting leaves from the playground and analysing them very carefully, making drawing studies of different leaves, and they have been leaf printing and conker rolling in paint.
They have had lots of fun exploring the season of Autumn in English, Science, Topic and Art.
(Leaf print pictures)
Key Stage 1 also went on a school visit to Bedworth where they explored the local surroundings.
They looked at the different landmarks and learnt about the history of our town, and Year 2 even wrote a letter to the council to inform them about the new amenities that
they would like to see in Bedworth.
We talked about Tesco and where food comes from, and we even looked at some of the trees in the park and predicted whether we thought there were apple trees in the park.
Year 1 are looking forward to going back to check!
The Eco Council have continued to work hard and are now ready to submit their first Green flag application.
The Eco council entered a competition during May. they had to explain how they were being eco-friendly, green and sustainable. There entry won them and 7 other schools a place at the Neovia eco day.
Neovia is a global industrial contract logistics company, formerly known as Caterpillar logistics. The two companies separated but are still sharing the huge site which is situated in Desford, Leicestershire.
Neovia are proud of the way that they conduct their business, they are passionate about recycling and caring for our planet. It was endearing to see the lengths that they go to protect the environment.
The fun educational day involved each school giving a presentation that showed the great Eco work that is taking place in their school, a visit to the Caterpillar visitor centre, a talk and an activity on habitats, a rain forest roadshow and an award ceremony.
Mr Reynolds, company director of Neovia said “he was extremely impressed with us, stating that he could see we are dedicated to nurturing our environment, that our children are the future and they are getting it right”. He encouraged their drive and enthusiasm, noting “that if they continue their good work the world will be a better place and we all have a role to play”.
Mr Reynolds awarded us a commemorative plaque, adoption papers for our own penguin and a cheque for £250 to spend on future Eco projects. (This is going to fund our green flag application). All in all it was a fabulous day and the children all gained immensely from the experience.
We shared our good practice with Neovia company and seven other schools.
Caterpillar painted this digger blue to
celebrate Leicester winning the premiership.
Empty Classroom Day – Friday 17th June
Empty Classroom Day is a day to celebrate and promote learning and play outside the classroom, it is a national event. We took part and joined hundreds of schools. We are an eco-school, therefore this day was a great opportunity for us to contribute to our healthy living, biodiversity and school ground topics.
Each class planned their activities to go with our eco themes, some activities revolved around the Woodlands Trust green tree awards. We are really pleased to inform you all that we have now gained the GOLD award.
**** Platinum here we come!
Here are some of the activities we took part in during the day.
We visited our local woods
My trip to the woods
At half past nine this morning, Year six left school to visit a wood down the road. We were all very excited. When we entered the forest area we were surrounded by all kinds of trees, flowers, leaves and wildlife.
Some people picked leaves and identified what type of leaf they were and what tree they belonged to. There were some children taking photos of leaves and trees around the wood.
After our visit we walked back to school with our sheets full of information, collected from the forest. At school we started writing our found information into a recount about our trip to the wood.
We found the following leaves: Ash, beech, field maple, birch, hawthorn, hazel, sycamore. These leaves are all different shapes, colours, sizes and patterns. There were some leaves we didn’t find, they include: Birch, holly and rowan.
So that was our amazing trip to the woods. We learnt a lot about the trees and leaves in the woodland down the road.
My outdoor experience into the woods!
Today, at 9.30am, we as a class went into the woods to explore the natural environment. As we entered the woods, it turned from bright to dull and dark.
I found an oddly shaped leaf, it had 5 other leaves poking out of itself. I went to Daniel, who had a sheet of all the leaves in the area, it turned out to be an elder leaf. I also found a flower with pink and white petals and a yellow centre. I couldn’t find out what it was though. I will google it when I get a chance. We went deeper into the woods and got wetter but it was okay, we found interesting twigs, tree trunks and flowers. When we came out we were soaking but our journey wasn’t over, along the path back to school we saw a very cool old tree. The trip was great.
Lunch amongst the trees
We shared environmental stories during our literacy lesson time.
We have made a start in the old allotments, our aim is to transform the area into a wildlife centre.
Thanks to the kind generosity of Mr Baldock, the owner of The Oak Nurseries in Nuneaton and Mr Lamb a Parent of a year one child. Both parties came to our rescue and gave us the pallets we needed to make this wonderful mini bug mansion.
Eco Council – Growing Diary:
Our sow & grow box has arrived, how exciting.
Let’s begin to sow and hopefully grow! We filled our pots with soil, inserted the seeds (cress, peas and spinach), we added some more soil and watered well. The pots were positioned carefully onto the year 4’s window sill in order to get the best light.
By day 5 our cress was sprouting up well but the peas and spinach were only just peeping through the soil.
Day 7 – Looking good – Our cress cups have really filled out. Our pea shoots are becoming clearer as they break through the soil. The spinach stalks look a bit like grass, quite fine and curly.
Day 12 – Our peas have taken off, some children described them looking like four leafed clovers. All of our produce are looking strong and healthy. The cress has started to over spill out of their pots.
Day 16 – We tasted the cress today, many of the children said that they hadn’t tried it before.
Day 19 – Today, we looked at the difference in lengths between the three different plants. We used the data from our line graphs, everyone was enthusiastic and focussed.
Day 21 – The kitchen staff were pleased to see us today, we came baring gifts of the cress kind. It was marvellous to see our work transformed into meals. Some became salad garnish and the rest was used as sandwich toppers
Day 24 – Observations and art: Today we looked more closely at our pea and spinach cups. We discussed – what we could see, then we had an art attack and tried our best to draw our plants. You could pick out some budding artists, everyone gave it a good go though. After we had drawn and coloured the vegetables we described to each other what they taste like.
Day 30 – The weather was beautiful, we transferred the pea and spinach plants to our vegetable patch as they have outgrown their little pots.
We are nurturing and watering every day, we would like to thank Innocent for allowing us to be a part of this great experiment. They have truly inspired us all.
SAINT FRANCIS PRIMARY SCHOOL AWARDED FOR THEIR HEALTHY FOOD ACHIEVEMENTS
Our school has been awarded the Food for Life Bronze award for its healthy and climate-friendly food culture.
The school is working with Food for Life to transform the school’s food culture and that of its local community, by connecting the children with climate-friendly and healthy food.
As part of the Bronze award scheme, our school serves seasonal school meals, 75% of which are freshly prepared by our experienced school cook, Helen and her staff. Our Lunchtime supervisors also ensure that our children have a quality dining experience. The school also gives every pupil the opportunity to visit a farm, cook and participate in food growing activities during his or her time at school, and pupils and parents are involved in making improvements to the school’s menu and dining experience.
Many thanks to all involved in gaining this award and particular thanks to Mrs Blackwell and Mrs Haywood for all their hard work with our eco council and growing club.
On Thursday 17th April 2016, The Eco Council arranged for the whole school to take part in their clean for the queen event. We joined this nationwide campaign as a way to mark the queen’s 90th birthday. It was a celebration for the long service and commitment she has dedicated to our country. At 9.00am the Eco committee delivered an informative litter assembly to the rest of the school.
At the end of our assembly, we had an exciting message from the queen informing us that she would be doing an inspection after we had cleaned.
Every class took part, during their half an hour spot they thoroughly cleaned our school, inside and out, until it was spic and span for our Ma’am. At 11.30am the queen arrived and inspected our school, she then met us all on the playground to deliver the verdict. Her message was “the school was immaculate” and it would please her immensely if we all made an effort to keep it that way in the future.
On Thursday 17th March the Eco Council were invited to join Yr. 1 as they had important visitors and a flock of 200 racing pigeons. The visit involved a question and answer session on raising and racing pigeons, it also involved us watching the pigeons being set free. They flew from our school field to Congleton in Chester where they live.
Mr and Mrs Staton were invited to our school to help the children in Year one to learn more about their topic: Up, Up and Away. So far the children have been busy learning all about different types of flight, therefore this visit linked in very well.
We the eco council feel very fortunate to have been invited to join their experience.
Mr and Mrs Staton taught the children all about pigeons, they explained when and where they race their pigeons, the children were allowed to handle the pigeons and finally we all went out into the field to watch them fly home. The pigeons flew in 3 circles above our school, as they gathered together, before making their journey back home. It was a lovely sight and everyone involved enjoyed the visit.
Facts we learnt:
Racing pigeons can fly around 700 miles in 12 hours at a speed of 50mph.
Pigeon races take place from Easter till the end of summer on Saturdays.
Up to 10,000 pigeons can take part in a single race.
Pigeons never crash into each other but often hit telephone wires.
There are different types of pigeons.
Vision Aid Overseas!
During Lent it is important that we pay particular attention by giving alms to charities and to help others just a little more than we do throughout the rest of the year. As this is the time when we reflect on how much Jesus gave for us and so for us to be like him, we should give help to others.
The Eco Council have made it their mission to collect as many pairs of unused glasses as they can from their friends and families so they can then deliver them to our local Optician to be recycled. Not only is it reinforcing our ethos of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle but they have also found out that they can then be helpful to others over in Africa through the work of Vision Aid Overseas. They did this by collecting over 70 pairs of glasses over the Lenten season and finding a local drop off point in Smith and Varley Opticians.
The great work we have done for Vision Aid Overseas today will help raise vital funds to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020.
We would like to remind everybody that we have signed up to take part in Earth Hour for the third year running. On the 19th March at 8.30pm millions around the world will be switching off their lights and enjoy their dinner by candlelight for this year’s Earth Hour. Why not join them by throwing your own candlelit party, spread the word to your friends and neighbours, make a lifestyle change, calculate your carbon footprint there’s a lot you can do. We at St. Francis want to do more than just switch off our lights; we want to help protect our brilliant planet.
Since it first began in Sydney Australia in 2007, the number of countries taking part in Earth Hour has grown to an incredible 172 countries and territories – a number that keeps rising every year!
Earth Hour is not about how much energy is saved during the hour. Rather, it’s a chance to put the spotlight on the issues facing the planet, and to inspire millions across the world to live more sustainably.
Our recycling centre has continued to be a great success! Thank You for all of the support you have given us.
We are collecting: old clothes, batteries, spectacles, old mobile phones, bird seed and bulbs. If you feel you could help out with any of these items we would greatly appreciate it.
Gardeners wanted: If you like gardening and you have a spare hour or two; the Eco council would love to have you. Please speak to Mrs Blackwell.
Waste Week 2016
Monday 7th – Friday 11th March 2016.
Well, we have been learning all about WEEE!
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
During the week the Eco council and year 4 have highlighted a huge problem that is cluttering our landfills. This problem is electrical waste! Many of us are guilty; we have been throwing away electrical items that could have been recycled. After careful consideration, we have decided to make a real conscious effort to make all of our pupils and staff aware of the growing potential dangers to our environment, through the careless disposal of electrical items, in particular mobile phones. Items such as mobile phones contain mercury, this is extremely harmful to our environment and after a short time the mercury seeps out of the phones into the ground. This then kills the plants, if these plants are contaminated with mercury and animals eat them they will die. Another serious concern is heavy metals and other chemicals commonly found in electronics i.e. mercury, cadmium and beryllium can leak into our water supplies, causing kidney and liver damage; it can also impair human mental development.
The eco recycling team have been busy giving each class daily waste facts and they have also taken a survey to see which items our school should collect to recycle. Mobile phones were most common. They started their campaign and have already received a few.
We are a nation of hoarders, have a look in your drawers at home as many of you may have an old phone which could be recycled. We could all make life style changes by passing on our unwanted items and reducing the amount of waste we send to landfills.
If you feel you would like to support our work please do by sending in any of your old mobile phones. Feel free to ask other members of your family to support this cause too.