In the annual awards ceremony yesterday, various schools across Solihull were recognised for their outstanding commitment to sustainable and greener practices. The Greener Solihull Awards formed part of the Sustainable Schools Conference, which this year had a strong focus on the journey to ‘net zero’.
Open to all schools in the borough, the awards challenge pupils and teachers to learn more about the environment both locally and globally, and strive to make their school more eco-friendly. Presented by local business champions, the awards help to develop a sense of pride in each school’s sustainability activities.
The full list of schools that received awards is as follows:
- Blossomfield Infant School
- St Patricks C of E Primary School
- Monkspath Junior & Infant School
- Coleshill Heath School
- Sharman’s Cross Junior School
- Merstone School
- St Anne’s Catholic Primary School
- Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic Primary School
- Solihull College
- Balsall Common Primary School
The award winners this year showcased the incredible breadth of climate action taking place in Solihull schools. Attendees heard about students’ litter picking initiatives, campaigns to reduce the amount of food waste in school canteens and even how a group of pupils created bee hotels to improve biodiversity. The awards were broken down into different categories which covered pupil led initiatives, linking in with wider environmental campaigns and embedding sustainability into the curriculum.
As part of the wider conference before the ceremony began, school staff heard from Council officers on the crucial role schools have to play in Solihull’s Net Zero Action plan, which was formally adopted at cabinet during COP26. Attendees noted how Solihull Council was recently commended in the Public Sector Smart Meter Guide, produced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Installing smart meters across all local-authority maintained schools in Solihull allows them to save up to 20% from their energy bills. A whistle-stop tour of a just a few Council net zero related projects also included the emerging town centre heat network, sustainable future transport and investment in the borough’s cycling infrastructure.
Councillor Ken Meeson, Mayor of Solihull, said:
“It’s wonderful to see just how serious our schools are about taking on the climate change emergency. From embedding sustainable development goals into the curriculum to encouraging children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, eco-leaders across the borough are doing a fantastic job. Their hard work combined with the enthusiasm of the children to reduce their carbon footprint, makes me feel confident that the future of our climate is in good hands”.
“Learning about the importance of looking after our environment doesn’t have to stop at the classroom door. It was brilliant to hear how pupils are bringing their eco-behaviours home with them and challenging their parents to live more sustainably. Congratulations to all of the schools who took part in this fantastic event.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said:
“It’s so important to recognise and celebrate the amazing eco-initiatives taking place in so many schools across Solihull. Teaching children about the importance of eco-responsibility, for example reducing single use plastics is invaluable. However, it’s certainly not a one-way street as we often hear brilliant ideas from students of all ages that could be utilised by wider society.
“On behalf of Solihull Council, I want to congratulate all of the award winners in 2021. Behind each and every award there are so many pupils, parents, and school staff who deserve enormous credit for their efforts. I’d also like to thank the wide range of businesses, organisations and Council officers for their dedication to making the awards so successful and ensuring a memorable event for all involved. Each year I continue to be inspired by the passion of future generations to make a real difference in the fight against climate change.”
Find out more about the work Solihull Council is doing with local schools around climate change by listening to episode one of our podcast ‘Courts on Climate Change’. Listen on the Council website, Spotify or Apple Podcasts.