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How green is your school?

‘Project Zero’ is a pupil-led, whole-school strategic initiative that has been brought in at London’s South Hampstead High School to improve the school’s environmental credentials in time for its 150th anniversary in 2026.

The project aims to significantly reduce the carbon footprint and contribution to landfill the school generates. So far, the student Eco Committee (led by UN-accredited climate change teacher Alex Wrigglesworth) has set up recycling points for crisp packets and batteries, and persuaded the head to commit to carbon off-setting flights on international school trips. They have also lobbied successfully for a meat-free school lunch every week.

Headmistress, Vicky Bingham, is not afraid to lead by example – she has vowed to buy no new clothes for 365 days. This has inspired the students (girls, aged four to 18) to make all sorts of environmentally-friendly personal pledges of their own, including coming to school by skateboard, using only sustainable period products and relinquishing single use plastics and unsustainable palm oil products.

“The 21st century is a time of unique opportunities and challenges; we have a critical role to play in preparing our students to help create a better future,” says Bingham. “We encourage
every student to find her voice – and use it.”

This is no empty promise – permission is granted for each pupil to attend one ‘Fridays for Future’ climate strike per academic year. Last year’s annual whole-school 10km walk ended at the Houses of Parliament, where the head girls delivered hundreds of letters from students, written on scraps of recycled paper, urging their MPs to take action with regard to climate change.

The article first appeared in the March issue of Independent Education Today.  


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