September 2021 saw Dean Close School launch its Sustainability drive with the creation of a Head of Sustainability role and also the start of a pupil-run, pupil-led Sustainability Group.
The group have wasted no time in beginning new initiatives and making sure that sustainability is being discussed around School and that COP26 has not gone by unnoticed in the Dean Close community.
The Sustainability Group and the Art Department combined forces to create the Flock Art exhibition. Every member of the School were given a piece of paper and instructions for how to create an origami pigeon. The task was to write her or his own climate pledge onto the paper before they folded it. Every pigeon was then attached and displayed in the Bonbernard Gallery the School. An impressive sight and moving testament to our commitment to sustainable living.
The Sustainability Group have begun their path towards gaining Dean Close School an Eco-Schools Award. This award starts with the creation of a sustainability group, has expanded with green councils in each House and also a new House Sustainability Competition. We are currently in stage 3 of the award and are beginning an eco action plan for the School to follow as it looks to reach the full Eco qualification.
Tree Planting and wild gardens
As part of Team Trees, the School has already raised enough money to plant 1,000 trees and this year we have begun tree planting on site. 30 trees have already been planted, with new flower and plant beds by our Gardening Club who are also nurturing the wilding of the Headmaster’s Garden. The next phase will involve bat boxes, hedgehog boxes and a biodiversity survey of the entire School campus.
Along with the Cheltenham Education Partnership, we have begun the Changemakers initiative. A climate event was hosted by GCHQ alongside COP26 to help the pupil representatives get an understanding of how Cheltenham is looking to become increasingly sustainable. This initiative will ultimately result in a 500-pupil Climate Conference in summer 2022. The Dean Close Changemakers also attended lectures at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on the heating planet and on how to live a Green Life.
This pupil-made infographic is both a testament to what we have achieved so far as well as our plans for the coming months. The School is installing bee hives alongside the wild gardens, chicken will be housed on site to provide eggs for Boarding Houses, the kitchens already dispose of food waste via anaerobic digestion and we are looking to get the 1,500 trees up closer to the 2,000 mark as we continue the tree planting scheme.
Earth Day 2022
The Sustainability Group is hosting a half day climate event at the School in April. This will involve stalls, games and events to raise money and awareness for climate charities and causes.
House Sustainability Competition
Already under way is the House Sustainability Competition. This was launched by the pupils in their Houses, to celebrate the pupils making a difference in their respective House; the ones that are making sure that Dean Close cannot be accused of ‘Greenwashing’.