Introducing the RCT Schools Eco Award

Introducing the RCT Schools Eco Award

The Council are pleased to announce the launch of our very own RCT Schools Eco Award.

The launch event took place at Pontypridd High School on Friday October 6th attended by Councillor Lewis (Cabinet Member for Education, Youth Participation and Welsh Language) and Councillor Leyshon (Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Corporate Services).

Here Members introduced the RCT Schools Eco Award to Pontypridd High School Council and Cilfynydd Primary School Eco Committee and the pupils proudly explained the work that the school is currently doing at a school level to help the environment. 

RCT School Eco Award is built around three specific categories ‘Biodiversity & Nature’, ‘Waste & Recycling’ and ‘Energy & Carbon Saving’. In each category schools can achieve bronze, silver, and then gold awards.

The criteria for each of the categories has been developed for the specific challenges and opportunities facing RCT schools and their locations and building types. Achieving the awards will help schools make impactful changes, one step at a time, that will feed into achieving greener, less wasteful, and eco-friendly schools.

By introducing the RCT School Eco Award we will also be making positive steps towards delivering the climate commitments in our Climate Change Strategy – ‘Think Climate RCT’, supporting opportunities for people of all ages to gain the skills they need to work in the developing green economy and to live more sustainably; therefore, helping to meet our carbon reduction targets.

The bronze level of the award will be launched first, and the schools will receive a set criterion that must be met as well as guidance to help them on their way to fulfilling all aspects of the award. A silver level of the award will be launched in the next academic year. Any school that successfully completes the bronze level will be able to participate in the silver level of the award. 

Schools that achieve each level of the award will receive prizes that will help the school in their attempts to reach the next level. The rewards will be items that will not only help the schools with the award but will help the school sites to be greener places and encourage the natural environment and local biodiversity.

Every school in RCT is encouraged to get involved in the new initiative that will help develop sustainable behaviours amongst young people, further education around climate change, reduce carbon emissions across the County Borough and much more.

Councillor Leyshon, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Corporate Services said:

“We are delighted to launch the RCT Schools Eco Award which we are hoping that all schools in RCT will participate in.

RCT has set itself a target to become a carbon neutral Council by 2030 and for the whole County Borough to be as close as possible to Carbon neutral by 2030 also.  This means all our services doing what they need to do to protect the planet.  All of us will also be playing our part to contribute to the many Welsh Government targets to meets its ambition of a Net Zero public sector by 2030 and a Net Zero Wales by 2050.”

The Member for Education, Youth Participation and Welsh Language added:

“The Council has created this award scheme for all schools in RCT. Schools, staff, and pupils within them can greatly assist the Council and Welsh Government in meeting its targets and contributing to protecting the planet, reducing carbon, and increasing biodiversity. It is fantastic to see Pontypridd High already undertaking these actions and their enthusiasm to participate in the award.”

Pontypridd High School participated in the Council’s Tree Planting Initiative earlier this year, with around 500 hedgerow plants planted along the school’s border with the Taff Trail. When fully matured, these plants will encourage growth of biodiversity on the school grounds and act as a natural border to the site. 

Refurbishment and remodelling of the school are also currently being undertaken by Morgan Sindall Construction. Once completed, this will provide a Net Zero Carbon in Operation primary facility making the new 3-16 school, Ysgol Bro Taf, as sustainable as possible and merging Pontypridd High School with Cilfynydd Primary School. The refurbishment works include features such as mechanical heat recovery, air source heat pumps, photovoltaic panels, and high thermal insulation upgrades to the building. The contractor has also donated six bird boxes to support the school help encourage growth of biodiversity.

The school is excited to have the opportunity to take part in the RCT Schools Eco Award and has made positive steps and exemplar work towards achieving a greener, less wasteful, eco school consisting of:

  • Pupils collecting water from the local stream and using indicator species to check pollution levels.
  • Pupils making insect hotels and bird boxes and taking them home to increase biodiversity in their garden.
  • Having a proactive recycling policy.
  • Creating a new IT policy for automatically shutting down PCs that have remained idle.
  • Installing light motion sensors which assist with cutting electricity costs.
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