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Pupils from Damers First present the then environment minister Michael Gove with their ‘golden rules’ for a bottle recycle deposit scheme. Back row from left: Sophie Colley, project officer for Litter Free Dorset, teacher Edd Moore and Michael Gove.


Bottom right: Pupils make Waxtastic No Plastic wraps


To stand out and be noticed, you need to find your school’s unique selling point. For Damers First School in Dorset, this came naturally, says Year 3 teacher Edd Moore


Eco is our USP I


t all started with the children, in 2017. They became very concerned about the environmental impact of single-use plastic and decided


to act. I contacted Litter Free Coast and Sea and Litter Free Dorset, who helped us launch Refill Poundbury, a scheme to encourage the public to refill reusable water bottles at businesses displaying a sticker. When the children signed up 23 businesses in one afternoon, I realised we had the pupil power to become a pioneering eco school. I put together a group of class reps


to take the lead on environmental issues, following guidance from the Eco-Schools programme. The


28 SPRING 2020 FundEd


Damers First Eco Crew worked hard to reduce single-use plastic in school and to help Dorchester achieve Plastic Free Community status. Things snowballed and today we are an award-winning Ambassador Eco- School, with a high profile nationally and internationally. The crew have appeared on CBBC Newsround and BBC Radio Solent to explain Refill Dorchester, which now has 40 local businesses displaying the refill bottle sticker. The Prince of Wales and our local MP, Oliver Letwin, have visited to see our eco work in action, while Eco-Schools has sent our ‘Refill Rap’ to 55,000 schools across the globe. Three pupils received Green Blue


Peter badges for writing poems about plastic pollution and dedicating their weekends to cleaning up beaches. In December, we were named Eco- Schools Primary School of the Year. It has been inspiring to see how


much our pupils have achieved. But none of this happened overnight. Seven years ago, our pupils knew little about the environment. Our old school site had no garden and limited outside learning spaces. When I arrived, I began to construct gardens and environmental learning areas. One project involved Year 3 children and community volunteers reusing plastic bottles to construct a greenhouse. Children planted seeds


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