The primary aim of the Eco-Schools scheme is to combine learning and action for the improvement of the environmental performance of Eco-Schools.
The Eco Schools programme aims to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of a school. This should include the students, teachers, non-teaching staff and parents, as well as the local authority, the media and local businesses. Eco-Schools endeavours to extend learning beyond the classroom and develop responsible attitudes and commitment, both at home and in the wider community. Its participatory approach and combination of learning and action make it an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path to improving the environments of schools and their local communities, and of influencing the lives of young people, school staff, families, local authorities, NGOs, and all other bodies involved in this vitally important area of work.
Here in Northern Ireland, the Eco-Schools Programme is operated by TIDY Northern Ireland, an environmental charity.
Our new Eco Code was devised during Greenday by our first year students. Our eco code was created around our school name as it is OUR eco code!
In our form classes we have ‘signed up’ to our eco code by all signing our form copy and proudly displaying it on our form notice boards in our form room. Each year the Eco Team review the Eco Code.
The eco team meet each Friday in GG2. All members of the school are welcome to come along and join in the fun!
The Eco Committee is composed of senior members of the Eco Team who have been voted by their peers as the Eco Committee. Within the committee we plan our activities, and make important decisions in a collaborative manner.
Throughout their learning Journey at Ulidia Integrated College, your child will have many opportunities to experience environmental education including, but not exclusively:
Our annual Greenday event takes place each June. During the event students in the school are off timetable to participate in the event. The aim of the day is to provide a ‘Whole school day of activities to promote care for our environment on a local, national and global scale’.
School grounds provide an ideal opportunity to introduce children to the natural environment and to biodiversity in a practical way. They offer a safe and potentially exciting facility for outdoor education that can complement classroom-based activities.
At Ulidia Integrated College we are increasing our biodiversity by introducing more flora onto the school grounds and by encouraging fauna onto the school grounds.
Flora has been increased by planting plants and trees including fruit trees, and by planting wild plants in our disused land at the back of the school.
Fauna in encouraged through the bird box programme. Boxes are built in Technology, and placed around the school. Some of these boxes have a motion activated night camera in them and will upload live feed onto the school web site when active.
Our school grounds have been well resourced to provide an environment for our students to enjoy that is peaceful and comfortable. Benches have been placed for students to enjoy our beautiful location overlooking Belfast Lough, and our grass areas are well maintained to ensure safety and enjoyment. The playing fields are regularly used for lessons so that students can learn from our natural environment such as microclimate studies of our school grounds.
In March 2013 Ulidia Integrated College became the first school in Northern Ireland to achieve ‘Zero Waste’ status. This was achieved as Ulidia sends no waste to landfill. At Dec 2012 47% of waste generated at Ulidia Integrated College was being put into landfill. The action plan has allowed the school to develop sorting of litter at the point of disposal with segregated bins, this has been a success but some minor contamination still occurs. This contamination is resolved by ISL secondary sorting at the factory.
Working in collaboration with ISL the school has now at the end of the pilot period returned 0% to landfill. At March 2013, 0% of waste is being put to landfill. Working with ISL has been a positive experience, the school has been provided with new bins, support and excellent customer service. We do not see this as a short term project but as a long term change to our waste disposal. Future plans are to reduce contamination, this was achieved by further investment in new segregated bins, and promotional activities in the summer term.
The Governors of Ulidia Integrated college have demonstrated their commitment to the Eco Schools programme by partially funding the building of our own wind turbine, and by providing funds for 11 solar panels.
At Ulidia we hold regular litter picks, including as part of our Green Day event, and as part of the ‘Big spring Clean’. The school governors have invested in tribal design bins which were designed by the students in art, these bins have been placed around the school and remain a talking point! Throughout our school we also have bins for recycling plastic bottles to reduce litter. Every classroom in Ulidia Integrated College has a multilingual paper bin, to promote modern foreign languages and also recycling. We complete a litter survey at least once a year using a quadrat to accurately monitor litter in our school.
Ulidia Integrated College has participated in the Wrigley ‘litter less’ campaign since 2011, gaining funding to run litter campaigns from Wrigleys. This has led to the successful focus on gum litter around our school. Gum litter has reduced, though sadly, not disappeared!
Healthy living is promoted throughout the school using the healthy living notice board outside the school counsellor office. The school employs a dedicated counsellor for the students. Regular healthy living events take place such as the annual mental health awareness day, health hub, and the love for life days; during these events students have the opportunity to meet outside speakers and specialist experts in their field.
‘Young people need the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that will enable them to participate as full members of a global society. As global citizens, they need to consider rights and responsibilities and the role of citizens in a democratic society.’
In Ulidia students are given the opportunity to participate in elections to elect their class representative for the student council. This is through an official election campaign period and voting event which enables students to experience democracy in action.
Within the global environment our students are encouraged to make positive decisions through an extensive range of experiences such as fair trade education and marketing.
Fundraising takes place regularly throughout the school for our partner projects such as; habitat for humanity, Ethopia360, Adsum Foundation.
2018-2019 | Translink Travel Challenge ‘most sustainable journeys’ award
2018-2019 | Awarded fifth Green flag
2017-2018 | Renewed Ambassador Eco School Status
2017-2018 | Coca-Cola Coast Care Awards – ‘Brighter Futures’ Joint Winner
2017-2018 | Young Reporters for the Environment, NI Junior First Place
2017-2018 | Young Reporters for the Environment, NI Senior Second Place
2017-2018 | Young Reporters for the Environment, NI Senior First Place
2017-2018 | LHLH Community Awards, Highly Commended
2017-2018 | Waste Warriors, Social Media Campaign National Winner
2017-2018 | TES Sustainable School of the Year, shortlisted
2017-2018 | Fair Trade Awards ‘Aware’ Award