Staff and pupils at Fochriw Primary School are celebrating after being named Regional Champions of the Better Energy School Awards.
Their project ‘Getting Totally Clued Up on the Red Kite’ not only took top spot in the ‘Totally Clued Up’ category across Wales and western England, but was also declare the best project in all categories from the entire region, making it the Regional Champion for 2017! Sixteen children from the school joined Regional Champions from schools in England and Wales at the National Awards Ceremony, held at London Zoo, where pupils were presented with a trophy and a cheque for £1,000 to put towards their school funds by TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson and wildlife cameraman & presenter Adrian Cale, together with Wolfblood actress Leona Vaughan.
The Better Energy School Awards is a nationwide competition for 5 to 11 year olds, which is run by the Young People’s Trust for the Environment (YPTE) in partnership with Total. The competition, which aims to generate interest in the environment and raise awareness of the need for sustainable energy sources, has received entries from over 23,500 school children in 2016-17.
The children’s project was inspired by their Eco Committee, who together with the Head Teacher were interested in finding out more about the red kites that the children often saw flying over the school. This led to a cross-curricular investigation of the species and the children gained immense knowledge and pride in these magnificent birds of prey that were a part of their daily landscape.
YPTE Director, Peter Littlewood, said: “This was one of those projects where a simple idea - finding out about red kites - branched off in lots of new directions. We loved the fact that so much of the children’s learning was actually directed by their own thirst for knowledge and we could really see how fascinated they had become with red kites – a species that was almost wiped out and considered a pest for centuries.”
Head Teacher Sharon Pascoe said: “We feel honoured that our red kite project has been recognised for such a prestigious award. Undertaking the project to support the red kites and raise awareness of their importance clearly demonstrates our commitment to sustainability. The children have led the project from the outset and taken part in a breadth of learning experiences. They have shown such enthusiasm to what is now ‘their bird’ at Fochriw. The children are very excited to represent their school and it just goes to show how so much can be learned with the nature we have right on our doorstep!”
Cllr. Philippa Marsden, Cabinet Member for Education and Achievement said: “Congratulations to pupils and staff at Fochriw Primary School on their impressive win at the Better Energy School Awards. It is always great to hear about schools undertaking innovative and engaging projects, making the most of the nature and wildlife within their local community.”