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Fochriw Primary School Named Regional Winners in the ‘Better Energy School Awards’

Pupils and staff at Fochriw Primary School are celebrating after being named the Regional Winners in the ‘Better Energy School Awards’.

The project ‘From Tragedy to Triumph with Fochriw’s Green Hand Gang’ was named the best entry in the ‘Totally Active’ award category for schools across Wales and Western England.

The Better Energy School Awards is a nationwide competition for 5-11 year olds, which is run by the Young People’s Trust for the Environment (YPTE) in partnership with Total. The competition, which aims to generate interest in the environment and raise awareness of the need for sustainable energy sources, has received entries from 370,000 children since it began in 2007.

The school’s curriculum development and design used an innovative approach taking meaningful learning experiences from the vandalism and destruction that happened within the school grounds back in January 2020 into a strategically planned programme of work. ‘From Tragedy to Triumph with Fochriw’s Green Hand Gang’ highlights collaboration with careful cross-disciplinary planning, learning and teaching leading to successful outcomes. The children re-designed their school grounds working with Keep Wales Tidy to implement £10,000 Postcode Lottery funding. Each class across the school took part in challenges and problem solving applying their literacy, numeracy and digital skills in a real life context to bring about positive change. The children were active citizens planting hedgerow in the school grounds working with the Common Connection Ranger. The Eco Warriors showed pride in their community taking part in a successful litterless clean-up campaign in the school grounds and village. The poly tunnel was repaired with support from the school’s PTA, ‘The Friends of Fochriw Primary.’ They launched a successful fundraising campaign and the children were able to plant and enjoy their grounds once again!

The school will be presented with a certificate of excellence in environmental education and £500 to recognise their achievements. Praising the schools efforts, Peter Littlewood, Director of the Young People’s Trust for the Environment said, “We have been really impressed with the great environmental work being done in challenging times.”

Mrs Pascoe, Head Teacher of Fochriw Primary commented, “We are delighted that once again our efforts at Fochriw Primary School to share our vision and aspirations for our pupils to be ethical, informed, citizens has been recognised. We set high expectations for excellence in our environmental work promoting authentic opportunities for experiences, knowledge and skills; we are proud because this award celebrates this. This feel-good story turning tragedy to triumph overcoming the destruction that happened shows the resilience of our whole school community. I’d like to thank everyone who helped contribute to our success we couldn’t have done it without the team effort!”

Cllr Ross Whiting, Cabinet Member for Learning added, “We are all extremely proud of Fochriw Primary School here at Caerphilly Council. They have overcome a devastating challenge and in doing so, have created something beautiful within their school grounds.”