It runs several sustainable development initiatives and embeds the principles into the school’s ethos and the curriculum, including an ‘Eco Code’ and an ‘Eco Council’, consisting of students of all ages and a link Governor who attends their meetings. This group leads on ‘switch off’ campaigns, free trade projects and tree planting. Students studying for the land and environment diploma grow vegetables and work on the campus grounds, and the school has resident badgers, bats, newts and reptiles.
Three ‘Gloucester old spot’ pigs are recent arrivals at the school. The pigs are part of a project in partnership with Wyre Forest Rangers for which the students have won the ‘Tryangle’ award for environment and sustainability. The students also grow vegetables, keep poultry and build patios and decking. They work in the locality on gardens, and Year 11 pupils created a pond and reptile environments on the site, helped by local rangers.
But perhaps most prominent is the Access Lodge. Headteacher Richard North says, “Our aim is to harness this landscape and combine it with staff expertise and ability, to plan the best type of learning experiences and to meet the needs of all our students. We achieve this through the Access Lodge.” Students from Years 10 and 11 join the Access Lodge. They are selected based on academic performance and behaviour at Key Stage 3.
The site development and management of the Lodge is largely the responsibility of the students, who follow a personalised curriculum designed around working outside with animals, plants and the land, together with additional subjects selected from the school’s options programme.