At Canon Burrows, our Christian values underpin everything we do. We believe that God created our wonderful planet and made us stewards of its care.
As a Christian eco-school, we take this responsibility seriously. We believe that children at our school should be able to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in the decisions about the way we do things both individually and collectively, locally and globally, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.
The aim of Education for Sustainable Development at Canon Burrows is to give pupils a greater understanding of both natural and human systems through a range of immediate environmental experiences which engage their senses, emotions, and thinking. It enables pupils to develop a life ethic which values all people and the natural environment, and to become aware of the actions that they ought to pursue in order to live more a more sustainable life both now and in the future. We have many initiatives which we regularly work on to help our school contribute to making God’s wonderful world a greener and happier place to live.
The ‘Walk Once a Week,’ or ‘WOW,’ initiative has now been running for over 10 years with children learning about the benefits of walking, both to themselves and the environment, which enables them to act with responsibility towards our planet. WOW is a pupil-led initiative where children self-report how they get to school every day using the interactive WOW Travel Tracker. If they travel sustainably (walk, cycle or scoot) once a week for a month, they get rewarded with a (recycled) badge.
Eco in our classes
Children use meter readings within their curriculum work and continually strive to reduce energy use. We take part in an annual ‘Switch off fortnight’ and ‘Earth Hour’ while daily, class monitors make sure taps and switches are always off when not needed. We also have children who regularly litter pick the school grounds, as well as recycle plastic, paper and make sure resources are used responsibly.
Canon Burrows children elect councillors to the school’s various committees which play a major role in shaping the school’s future. The eco council meet every half term and are responsible for representing their peer’s ideas and voices in helping our school stay environmentally friendly. They will also lead assemblies and often represent the school at events in the community.
Global Goals for Sustainable Development
Pupils learn about global issues such as deforestation and global warming and how these affect the planet. Each year, children also participate in an annual event, ‘The World’s Largest Lesson’, which introduces the Sustainable Development Goals to children and young people everywhere and unites them in action.
Children and staff spread the message of the benefits of sustainability by both inviting people to see what we do at the school and by explaining what we do to others. Canon Burrows was the first school in Tameside to have a fully qualified Climate Change Teacher, a scheme introduced in partnership with the United Nations and Harwood Education.
Clean Air Campaign
As part of our initiative to improve the local community, Canon Burrows was a pilot school in the project run by The University of Manchester, Global Action Plan and The Phillips Foundation's. The Clean Air for Schools programme aims to support schools to improve air quality. We were one of 20 schools in Greater Manchester helping to develop the Clean Air for Schools framework – a blueprint of scalable actions that all UK schools can take to tackle air pollution.
RHS School Gardening Award
We are proud to be completing levels of the RHS School gardening award which we work towards when children come outside and use tools to garden, grow plants and vegetables, and maintain our green school grounds.
Situated on a busy road, we want to protect the safety and air quality of the pupils and in response to parking congestion – not to mention air quality – so in Spring 2019, we launched the ‘PS Park Smart’ campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of parking around school, but particularly on adjoining roads. The campaign aims to encourage parents to find a safe place to park if they need to use their vehicles when collecting or dropping off their children.
The school is proud to be an active member of the Manchester Environmental Education Network which began life in 1994 as an informal organisation. It was run voluntarily by teachers who wanted to bring environmental issues into their teaching practice. In May 2019, after attending the MEEN Climate Change conference, eight more keen eco-warriors were delighted to accept the invitation from the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to attend his second Green Summit, held at the Lowry, Salford.
Plastic Free Schools
In 2020, Cannon Burrows joined many schools around the world in the campaign to reduce and eliminate single use plastic. The campaign for Plastic Free Schools - headed by Surfers Against Sewage - helps children realise the power of their voice. By taking tangible actions to reduce the single use plastic footprint of their school and wider community they inspire themselves and those around them to ever greater achievements. The school council and eco council worked together to make changes and hosted a plastic free week at the beginning of the year.
Eco Schools Green Flag
Awarded our first Green flag in 1998 in, 2011 we gained Eco-Schools Ambassador status in recognition of our work to help and inspire others on their journey toward greater sustainability. Canon Burrows is currently an Eco Ambassador Legacy school and we gained our 10th Eco schools Green flag in Autumn 2019. The school has also been awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Eco Schools organisation. Children from the eco committee, along with staff, attended an awards ceremony where the school’s lifetime commitment to environmentally sustainable practise was acknowledged. Going forwards, we hope to inspire and facilitate other schools and businesses to adopt some of the methods we have incorporated.
We hope you can see how hard the children and adults at Canon Burrows work to try and love, respect and cherish the wonderful world which God created. If you have been inspired to try and live a greener life, you may find some of these websites helpful.