“School Children 30 years ago knew of the importance of caring for their world, this has not changed.”
Canon Burrows achieved their first Green Flag over 20 years ago in 1998 and since then have achieved ten Eco-Schools Green Flags! Teacher and Eco-Coordinator, Andy Clark started at Canon Burrows in 1987 (years before Eco-Schools was even a twinkle in Keep Britain Tidy’s eyes)! In his first weeks, Mr Clark was delighted to find that an established teacher, Mrs Nickson, would take groups of children into an adjoining school field to undertake environment management work. Mrs Nickson had been doing this since at least 1977! When Mrs Nickson retired, Andy took on her role and expanded it to various environmental projects, for which they won many awards. It was in 1997 that the Eco-Schools team took note of the ongoing eco-work in Canon Burrows and contacted Mr Clark to see if the school would be interested in applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag award. Eco-Schools and Canon Burrows were a natural fit, both understanding that education is the key to creating future citizens, who understand the need to care for the world they live in. After Canon Burrows signed up to the Eco-Schools programme, the biggest change in their school was the introduction of an Eco-Committee. For the first time, he Eco-Committee allowed pupils to have a voice within their school and was a key driver for the realisation of the importance of pupil-voice (now an established part of school-life in the UK).
In October 1998, Canon Burrows gained their first Green Flag (the Eco-Schools Bronze and Silver awards did not exist yet) leading to an active period of green activities:
- 1999 Andy Clark was a finalist in Tetra Pak Environmental Teacher of the Year Award.
- 2000 Canon Burrows won the David Bellamy Award and are awarded their second Eco-Schools Green Flag.
- 2001 Canon Burrows started composting and plant 3000 bulbs in a day.
- 2002 Ken Hulme visited Canon Burrows as do teachers from as far away as China. Canon Burrows are awarded their third Eco-Schools Green Flag.
- 2003 Andy Clarke helps launch the Manchester Environmental Education Network and Canon Burrows features in a Times Newspaper article about the Eco-Schools programme.
- 2004 Canon Burrows gain their fourth Eco-Schools Green Flag Award, again featuring in the Times Newspaper. 40 Canon Burrows pupils perform ‘War and Peace’ at the Manchester Cathedral for Green Fair.
- 2005 activities included Energy Saving, Walking to School and Bulb Planting weeks.
- 2006 Canon Burrows weekly Eco-Club begins and children perform at Tameside Eco-Conference.
- 2007 Canon Burrows are finalists of Sustainable School of the Year Award.
- 2008 Canon Burrows wins Ashton School Gardens competition and Andy Clarke leads a workshop at Eco-Friendly Schools Conference in London.
- 2009 Solar panels are fitted, and ‘Power Perfector’ installed, HRH Duchess of Cornwall attends Canon Burrow’s Eco-Day and their fifth Eco-Schools Green Flag is awarded.
- 2010 Walk on Wednesday begins and Mr Clark is invited as a guest to a civic dinner with Prince Charles. Staff and pupils are also invited to attend the Royal Garden Party. Twenty Japanese teachers visit to see Canon Burrows eco-work in action.
- 2011 Canon Burrows win an award for the most effective eco-committee, they achieve their sixth Eco-Schools Green Flag and gain Eco-Schools Ambassador status.
- 2013 Canon Burrows gain a seventh Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
- 2014 Year 5 and 6 children present on energy saving in schools at Manchester Cathedral.
- 2015 a woodpecker visits the school gardens, the Eco-Committee present their Walk on Wednesday project to Living Streets in Manchester and Canon Burrows achieve their eighth Eco-Schools Green Flag.
- 2016 Canon Burrows trial their new action Happy Shoesday.
- 2017 they are awarded their ninth Eco-Schools Green Flag.
- 2018 Eco-Committee blogs go online, Canon Burrows attend the Mayors Green Summit.
- 2019 a year 6 Eco-Committee member appears on CBBC, the Eco-Committee attend Manchester Environmental Education Network meeting and their tenth Eco-Schools Green Flag is awarded.
Over the past 25 years, Canon Burrows have completed an incredible amount of Eco-Schools work, but their highlights have been:
- Simple, whole-school activities: litter picking, bulb planting and Green Fairs.
- Listening to children’s wonderful ideas throughout many Eco-Committee meetings.
- Welcoming visitors from around the world and teaching them how their schools can be more eco.
- Seeing former pupils maintain their passion for the environment including one former pupil who now holds a senior position at Natural England and another who now works at Canon Burrows with Andy!
Eco-Coordinator Andy has also noticed some changes: ten years ago his Eco-Committee were passionate about introducing free-range eggs into their schools, now single use plastics are high on the eco-agenda, however, what Andy says has stayed the same, is the passion of young people to protect their environment: this has only grown.