The secondary school in Cradley Heath has been awarded an Eco-Schools Green Flag with merit. For the last 12 months, staff have acknowledged, rewarded and celebrated the ecological achievements of their students. The Seven Step Framework that the Academy has used is designed as a very simple environmental management system that empowers young people to introduce and lead environmental actions. The Eco-Schools Green Flag is an international accreditation (currently operating in 70 countries) that has recognised and rewarded youth-led environmental action since 1994.
Forge students, who have led on the project through an eco-committee, have produced mind maps and action plans to ensure the work they have done covers the framework and the monitoring and evaluation process. Activities included raising funds for different causes and Earth Day celebrations. Students linked the accreditation, with the support of the programme coordinators, Rachel McCarthy and Umar Rashid, to curriculum work including oil and fossil fuels and how this impacts globally, water shortages in Las Vegas and rainforests and deforestation. The Academy now has an eco-board with updates and information about the Eco-Schools work for students, staff and the wider community to view. Students also worked relentlessly on litter, cutting the amount of litter in and around the school and participating in litter-picks in their own time.
A spokesperson for the Eco-Schools team said: "Congratulations to everyone at Ormiston Forge Academy for the great work you have managed to do, especially throughout the pandemic and lockdown. You should all be very proud of the amazing work you have done. Well done again!"
Rachel McCarthy, OAT National Lead Practitioner Enrichment Eco-Trust and Careers, said "We have an important role to play in tackling environmental challenges, this accreditation has enabled us to highlight the environmental concerns our students will face throughout their lifetimes, and develop the skills, confidence and attitude they will need to tackle them.
"These skills provide simple steps that engage and educate before empowering young people to take meaningful action now and throughout their lifetimes. This work creates the next generation of innovative, inspirational environmentalists and tells local communities that a school is forward-thinking and actively engaged in protecting our planet."
The Academy is putting in plans to erect a flagpole and display the new green flag with pride.
The Eco-Schools Green Flag programme has been operated by Keep Britain Tidy. In this time, over 20,000 schools, colleges and nurseries have registered with Eco-Schools England.
Keep Britain Tidy, was founded in 1954 when The National Federation of Women’s Institutes passed a resolution to, ‘Keep Britain Tidy.’ Since then Keep Britain Tidy has cleaned for the Queen, influenced government policy, recognised the best beaches and parks across England and facilitated thousands of litter picks! Keep Britain Tidy’s cause is to cut litter, end waste, improve public places and educate future generations.