Portsmouth High School, part of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) group of schools, is delighted to announce that it sources 100% of its energy (gas and electricity) from renewable fuels as of 1 October 2020. Over 50% of the school’s energy comes from wind with 40.14% off-shore and 13.65% on-shore. The other 46% comes from biodegradable fuels, biogas, hydro and landfill gas.
Headmistress, Mrs Jane Prescott, said: ‘The UK is in transition. The current rate of consumption of natural resources is unsustainable, we need to be more efficient whilst making the most of our resource base of raw materials and energy. In doing so, we also help fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the wider economy. The girls at Portsmouth High School are enthusiastic and engaged and have a voice to suggest new ways of recycling and being energy efficient.’
Speaking at an online school assembly, during national Geography Awareness Week, Amelia Spencer, Year 13, Environment Prefect said:
‘Portsmouth High School had done a great deal to be environmentally friendly, from sourcing 100% of our energy from renewable sources to ensuring all our food packaging is biodegradable. The school uses SUEZ recycling and recovery services which aims to reuse, recycle, or recover the majority of waste, contributing to a circular economy. We have a fleet of 12 minibuses which save hundreds of thousands of Kg of CO2 emissions per year compared with if everyone drove into school. These are only a few examples of the many things our school does to protect the environment.’
The school is planning to be part of the Energy Sparks ‘Switch Off’ campaign’. The school will be able to access the Energy Sparks database to see live energy usage. Graphs will be provided with commentary as to what activities the school could undertake to continue to reduce energy consumption. These experiences will be cascaded to other schools in the Girls’ Day School Trust. The SUEZ recycling and recovery vision is to get to a point where the majority of waste materials will have been reused, recycled, or recovered for their energy content. Suez want to reach a stage where there is no longer any ‘waste’, because they recognise the intrinsic value of the materials they handle as a secondary resource. To achieve this vision, a truly integrated policy framework must be created that locks resource and energy use, production, consumption and waste management into a ‘virtuous circle’. This is known as the ‘circular economy’.
At the Prep School the girls have been working towards their Green Flag Award through the Eco-Schools programme. This is an internationally recognised award for excellence in environmental action and learning and is pupil-led, involving hands-on learning. The girls have already received their Bronze and Silver awards and are in line to receive their full Green Flag Award this academic year.
In addition Portsmouth High School’s catering team is fully on board with making the school sustainable: all the food packaging is biodegradable, vegetables and milk are purchased from local Southsea suppliers reducing the carbon footprint of delivery lorries. The packaging from their suppliers is taken back for reuse and Holdsworth Food, a company with high sustainable standards, is Portsmouth High School’s main food supplier ensuring levels of waste are minimised and waste created is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
Furniture, school estates and school transport all add to the mix of a sustainable school. With recycling of furniture wherever practicable, a resourceful and efficient estates team are constantly recycling materials which are used, where practicable, for DIY jobs around the school site. Large composting bins have been installed which are used as composted mulch in the spring along with chip from the wood chipper machine which are used to suppress the weeds around the school grounds.
‘It is vital that we teach the girls, from as early as Pre-School, climate and environmental responsibility. Our older girls are actively engaged role models for the younger generation. Young people rate environmental problems extremely high on their concerns and it is commendable that they take the lead in many projects that take place in school.’