A Banbury secondary school has retained its “Green Flag” status for the second year running following a range of impressive eco-projects focussed on healthy living, litter and biodiversity.

All the students at Futures Institute Banbury contributed to achieving the prestigious award for the school, which is based at the Banbury Aspirations Campus on Ruskin Road. The school’s efforts were sponsored by Thames Water.

Eco-Schools is a charity which provides a simple, seven-step framework to help pupils change and improve awareness of environmental issues.   They provide Green Flag accreditation to those education establishments that achieve the standard.

School told their application made judges feel “really positive for the future”

Futures Institute Banbury pupils in Years 7 and 8 used aspects of their No Limits Curriculum learning to help them achieve the goals set, with time used to consider UN global sustainability goals for food and to improve the school grounds by growing wildflowers and other plants.

Sister school Wykham Park Academy also linked up with charities and companies including the RSPB, The Woodland Trust, Morrisons, Warburtons and the organisation Banbury Trees.

In recognition of the support from Thames Water, Futures Institute Banbury will continue with water-focussed eco projects during the current academic year.

Dr Cat Pickup, Director of Project-Based Learning at Futures Institute Banbury, said: “The journey to ‘Green Flag’ status has involved dedication and commitment from the students at Futures.

“The Eco-Committee, which was set up with members from all year groups in the school, has been integral to Futures retaining ‘Green Flag’ status.

“The Eco-Schools initiative is all about raising environmental awareness in the school and students involved have gained all sorts of employability skills like teamwork and communication.

“It has been empowering, knowledgeable and fantastic for the students and also boosted their mental wellbeing. Fundamentally, it’s about helping to make the world a better place in the future.”

Eco-Schools judges praised the school and its students for managing to retain their Green Flag status.

In a letter to the school they said: “You’ve clearly taken great efforts to connect your healthy living, biodiversity and litter projects happening across the school and embedding work into curriculum and everyday school life in a really impactful way. This is really inspiring and clever.

“This kind of creative and practical pedagogical work hopefully helps the children to create lovely memories and approach these important topics in fresh and relevant ways and is a great way to encourage them to take pride and ownership of their local environment.

“Your application made us feel really positive for the future! Your achievements this year have been lovely to hear about.

“You should all be very proud of your amazing work and the great application you have submitted.”