The Eco Schools Green Flag Award scheme is a pupil led environmental project involving hands-on, real world learning involving the whole school and the wider community. At St Stephen's we have been successful in our bid for the Green Flag Award four times and are working hard to achieve a fifth Award. It was a particularly difficult task during COVID-19 times when children were at home but we worked extra hard in all areas of the programme to achieve our last Award and are looking forward to working just as hard for our fifth Award. 

Since September, our Eco Team have been involved in lots of different projects relating to the programme. These include...........


We have been working very hard improving our surroundings and increasing the children's knowledge and understanding of the importance of protecting and enhancing biodiversity. 

We have asked our parents for donations of bulbs and seeds for our Eco Day which we will plant around school and the Eco Garden. These plants, along with the free trees donated by The Woodland Trust, will support life on Earth by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere, absorbing carbon dioxide and providing habitats and food for wildlife and humans. They will also help to regulate the water cycle. 


Our children have made bird boxes and released butterflies into the Eco Garden after watching them grow from caterpillars into a chrysalis before emerging into a butterfly. They have also released frog spawn into our Eco pond and replenished it with fish donated by our local PCSO. Our Eco Team have also helped to build hedgehog houses which will be placed strategically in the Eco Garden.

Our whole school takes part in a Forest School programme which is timetabled so all children can take an active role in this important activity. This programme offers the children the opportunity to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a natural environment with trees. We developed a piece of land in the school playing field and cleared the area to make an environment for our children to achieve a positive outdoor experience.

In addition, we purchased a new Bug Hotel for our Eco Garden. The company helped to build the hotel during workshops held across Key Stage 1 with our children sourcing the bugs. The children learnt that insects are an integral part of a successful garden and can actually help control and reduce the populations of detrimental insects. They understood that by providing these insects with a home, they will be promoting wellbeing and the population numbers of beneficial insects. During lockdown, the Insect Hotel became neglected and overgrown. Our Eco Team identified this and, helped by Keyworker children, rebuilt it to its former glory. It now holds pride of place in the Eco Garden and is teeming with insects.


The Team has been looking at the ways in which we can save energy - both at home and in school. Members of our Eco Team take weekly meter readings with the Site Manager and plot the results onto graphs so we can easily make comparisons and check what activities have had an impact. 

We have previously taken part in 'Switch Off Fortnight' where we spend two weeks helping to cut our carbon emissions in school.  However, this year we are going to take part in our own 'Switch Off' day instead. We will spend the whole day without electricity - lights will be turned off, along with computers and interactive whiteboards. When taking part in 'Switch Off' events, electricity usage, naturally, takes a dip. This has led our Eco Team to investigate the feasibility in switching our lighting throughout school to LED. We were successful in negotiating with an outside company ESL (Energy Savings Lighting) who guaranteed savings in electricity charges and who have since fitted the whole school with LED lighting. 

We are also looking to take part in 'Empty Classroom Day.' This is a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play. This not only improves children's health but also engages them with learning, leading to a greater connection with nature. As an added bonus we will be able to save energy in school while the children are learning outdoors.

We have also undertaken a review of the amount of gas we use for heating during the winter months. We have previously contracted an outside company to control the heating. However, we have found we were unable to change the settings in a timely manner should the weather change dramatically. We have since changed the timing system so we are now in control of the heating and can alter it in direct relation to the outside temperature.


This area is one of the simplest ways to show children the impact our behaviour has on the environment.       

In conjunction with Bolton Council, we are looking to borrow litter pickers once again and take our children out on to the streets of Kearsley to conduct a litter pick as we have done in previous years. We have found this activity of looking after our environment and being outdoors helps to contribute to improved mental and physical well-being.


Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship educates and prepares young people for their role in a modern world, beginning with an exploration of different cultures, languages and economies. To help the children be aware of the wider world and have a sense of their own role as a world citizen we have previously invited Fairtrade into school to deliver an assembly.


Our School Council choose to support a different charity each year. Previously they have chosen a charity which helps children in rural India to go to school instead of having to work. Each year we always support the NSPCC and Children in Need by raising money through school activities. However, as a school, this year we have chosen to concentrate our efforts on supporting local charities including Kearsley and Farnworth Food Bank and Dancing with Dementia.

We also celebrate Earth Day each year which is an annual event honouring the achievements of the environmental movement and raising the awareness of the need to protect the earth's natural resources for future generations.

Healthy Living

This topic is one which the children have been very busy working on. They understand there is link between a healthy environment and a healthy life and realise that what is good for us is also good for the environment and a environmentally sustainable diet is often also a healthy diet. During the work on our Eco Garden, we built a polytunnel and raised beds in which to grow fruit and vegetables. We have started a Gardening Club for children after school and they will use the polytunnel to grow produce on a rotational basis. We are looking to be able to provide our school kitchen with some of our produce to use for our school dinners. Any excess produce will be sold to parents after school. In addition, our School Kitchen has decided to offer salad boxes to Key Stage 2 for          their school lunches and these have proved extremely popular, particularly in the warmer weather.                                                                            

Mental health is, however, just as important as physical health. As part of our PSHE programme our children will study topics such as 'Our Feelings', 'Our Emotional Needs', and 'Under Pressure'. The topics are tailored to each year group and address many sensitive areas. Year 5 also enjoy taking part in Yoga sessions which help the children to focus on relaxation and managing stress.

In February, we launched 'Children's Mental Health Week' with a whole school assembly to set the tone of the week. Our children took part in different activities each day and ended the week with a whole school activity focusing on the various aspects of mental health, including a positive affirmation workshop and a yoga workshop.


School Grounds

We have been working EXTREMELY hard on this topic area. We have developed an overgrown piece of land in the school grounds and created a fabulous Eco Garden. Take a look at the photos to illustrate the transformation..........                               


We have created a pond which houses frogspawn, tadpoles, newts, snails, ramshorn snails, great pond snails and fully grown frogs and toads. In addition, we have received a donation of two shubunkins from our local PCSO. The fish are now thriving in our pond adding colour and liveliness. We have also been fortunate to receive donations of bird boxes, bat boxes and plants from our local neighbours who are extremely happy to see the improvements made to their environment.

Not only have we been working on the Garden, we have also improved our school playground. We have purchased a new outdoor gym and table tennis tables which are proving very popular during break and lunchtimes and provide a perfect outlet for energetic children. We have also introduced new wall games for those children who prefer a quieter environment in which to play. 

       As part of their outdoor learning, Reception Class enjoy taking part in a Forest School session each Friday morning. Forest School is an inspirational process which offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment with trees. 

             We are justifiably proud of our outdoor learning environment and we feel it makes a visible statement about our school and what we stand for.



Due to the location of our school, traffic and parking is a huge problem for St Stephen's. We have looked at different ways in which we could alleviate some of the problems to benefit both our children and the local neighbours and community. Our Eco Team have spent time designing and drawing posters to display around school to encourage safe parking. We actively encourage our children to walk to school. 

We have also invested in cycle racks to encourage our children to cycle or use their scooter to travel to school. Hand in hand with this initiative we take part in Bikeability each year. This is a two day course in cycle training from the first basic steps of cycling taught in a traffic-free environment, to teaching the skills and knowledge required to keep children safe on today's roads.

We have purchased a 'Safe Parking' sign which is outside our school gates each morning and afternoon. One of our School Governors monitors the driving and parking each afternoon when parents are collecting their child from school and advises about safe parking. In addition, as part of our ongoing work with road safety, we are working hard with the local authority and have appointed two Road Safety Ambassadors. The ambassadors have received packs detailing lots of information about road safety which they will feed on to the whole school in the form of an assembly when allowed. Within the pack were details about a Road Safety competition and we are currently waiting to see if we have been successful in receiving funding to improve our playground markings.


At St Stephen's we embrace the 5Rs.

  • Refuse - we don't buy products we don't need

  • Reduce - we don't buy products we will not use

  • Reuse - we upcycle lots of products

  • Repair - we repair as many items as we can

  • Recycle - we recycle lots of products eg: batteries, ink cartridges etc

We have taken part in 'Waste Week'  previously and have invited parents to collect and recycle aluminium and steel cans along with small electrical items. All metal was weighed by a local scrap merchant and the funds generated used for Eco resources.


All children on school dinners now place an order with the school kitchen and choose their dinner each morning. This has dramatically reduced the amount of food waste produced by the kitchen who are now able to accurately cook the correct amount of dinners from the orders. 

We have previously taken part in a clothes recycling scheme. Bags2School. The unwanted clothing is sold to importers and wholesalers in many countries of Eastern and Western Europe, Africa and Asia which all benefits the Circular Economy.

This year we are taking part in 'The Big Plastic Count.' For one week in March, thousands of schools, households, community groups and businesses will be coming together to count their plastic waste. Last year, almost 2 billion pieces of plastic packaging were being thrown away each week. This year is all about providing more evidence to convince UK ministers to lead the way at the global talks which could finally phase out plastic pollution for good.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we realised many of our children had outgrown their uniforms and were unable to purchase or afford complete new ones. We introduced a 'Uniform Swap Shop' and asked for donations of unwanted uniform which we could swap and give to those children in need of new uniform. 




We also looked at our library, removed some old and dated books and purchased some new and exciting books to interest the children. We then offered the used books to each Key Stage to take home and read.




 A changing climate and a growing population could mean more of us having to share less water meaning water conservation will become an issue. Treating and pumping water to homes, schools and businesses uses huge amounts of energy and heating the water costs everybody. St Stephen's has recognised savings can be made in this area and have purchased water butts for the Eco Garden to keep our flowers and vegetables well watered. These water butts are now in need of replacing as they have been very well used over the past few years. Sourcing replacement water butts is going to be a project for the Eco Team this coming year. 


To assist with the watering of the plants in the polytunnel, we have recycled an old water tank from school and used old plastic pipework to create an irrigation system. We have remodelled the guttering from Reception's garage to drain into the water tank so we are able to use rainwater to provide water for the plants and flowers in the polytunnel. Please have a look at the system in action...............

The irrigation system has been in operation for a few years and needs some updating. This is planned to take place during Summer Term 2024.

We have also invested in self flushing urinals and self closing automatic taps.

In addition, we have plastic bottles filled with pebbles inserted into each toilet cistern so less water is used for each flush. We are hoping to see a reduction in our water bills reflecting the investments and initiatives we have made.