The whole of St Oscar Romero Catholic School took part in an SOS Day on Friday, with sustainability as the focus for a day of activities inside and outside the school.
The St Oscar’s Sustainability event was organised with the help of the FingerPrints ambassadors, a student-led group that was set up in November 2019 with the mission to create actions for change and tackle some of the biggest issues we face today.
Pete Byrne, head teacher, said: “This was an idea that came from the children. We have 20 to 30 FingerPrints ambassadors, students who really care about climate change.
“They asked questions about how much we were recycling at school, why lights were being left on and whether the students and staff could use better forms of transport.”
The results of the staff transport survey proved thought-provoking and as a result, the students asked the teachers not to use their cars to get to school for the SOS Day.
Mr Byrne, who always cycles to school, said: “That is really inspiring. For me, it is seeing the children challenge us as adults to live in a more sustainable way.”
After an assembly where the ambassadors explained ‘Actions4Change’, students watched Sir David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet before walking to Goring beach to make knucker dragons.
Mr Byrne said: “They gathered on the beach in their form groups to come up with 10 changes we could make as a school. They then pooled their ideas to agree the actions for change.”
Phil Dean, extended learning leader, said the whole day was about sustainability and everyone had completed a carbon emission survey.
He explained: “The idea is to get the children to come up with their own changes. We have brought everyone together and as part of that, we got them thinking about Sussex and local folklore.”
The ambassadors meet once a week before school and it is a collaboration between all the year groups.
Elliot Meakins, 13, said they came up with the acronym ‘basic’, standing for be the change, ask the right questions, say the right things, implement and collaborate.
Ashley Coleman, 13, added: “Through that, we can bring about change. Everything we have tried to do with this is about how we can involve everyone in it. It is a time when we can teach the teachers about what is right.”
Thomas Hooper, 13, said: “It has been something in the works for a long time so to be able to do it and make a difference is brilliant. We are trying to make it clear and make people understand, make it simple for everyone and make it fun.
“Rather than make something in school, we wanted to do it on the beach with the stones and whatever else they could find.”