Pupils at Whyteleafe School will be hoping their green fingers can develop a golden touch after they were shortlisted for a major environmental funding prize.
As part of its Bags of Help initiative, supermarket chain Tesco have teamed up with environmental charity Groundworks to re-invest more than £11.5m earned through the 5p plastic bag charge in environmental projects across the country.
Whyteleafe’s Outdoor Learning project has made it down to the last three candidates for Tesco’s Caterham on the Hill branch, and now customers have a chance to vote on which they think is the most deserving cause, with prizes of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 on offer.
“We’re thrilled to have made it to this stage, and we’re really hopeful that by mobilising enough votes, we can go on to land the top prize for our school,” said Whyteleafe’s Deputy Head Caroline Bishop.
“Outdoor learning is a wonderful concept – it takes children beyond the boundaries of the classroom to an outdoor environment, which can be a really character-building experience. By learning how to manage risk, develop a respect for nature and their surroundings, and discovering leadership skills, they can build new skills which they then take back to the conventional learning situation, more rounded and confident students.”
Environmental concerns already play a key role at Whyteleafe, which is a member of the Surrey-based GLF Schools multi-academy trust which runs schools across the south east of England.
Last year pupils grew and harvested their own organic vegetables and some Year Six pupils successfully completed a two-year training course with British Beekeepers’ Association, part of the school’s long-standing honey-producing project. In addition, Whyteleafe has also achieved the Woodland Trust’s Green Tree Schools Gold Award for its environmental projects.
Voting for local Bags of Help projects in 416 regions across the country opened at Tesco’s stores opened on October 31 and runs until November 13, with customers being given a voting token at the check-out on each shopping trip.
“We’re very proud of our Outdoor Learning initiative here at Whyteleafe, so to have achieved this recognition already is a wonderful thing,” added Miss Bishop. “This opportunity is wonderful – not just because of the financial reward, but also because it gives us a chance to show to local residents what is going on at the school in their community. Everyone wins from this, so I’m hoping the work everyone puts into the Outdoor Learning project will do enough for us to earn us the top prize, because local people think we’re the most worthy cause.”
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