Fernhurst Junior School in Portsmouth is raising awareness and understanding about the problems caused by plastic misuse. Head Teacher, Roberta Kirby, who has been working in schools and education for over 20 years has embraced the need to teach young people about the problems we as a planet face with plastic. A strong staff team behind her who are motivated to change things in school has lead them to follow routine practices at Fernhurst that are set to make big differences. The wonderful thing about this school is that they are teaching their children to believe they can make a difference, to empower them to become change makers and be proactive in instigating changes for their future.
Two staff members at the school, Mathilde Chanvin and Natasha Parker are advocates for the school community’s reduction of plastic and are active in their quest to combat the use of plastic and re think how and we use it. One fantastic practice put in place is the recycling of white board and hand writing pens. A student body of over 350 pupils creates a huge amount of waste with something as small and perhaps un-noticed as pens. Collection boxes are in classrooms and children have normalised the system of recycling them. What a fantastic practice.
Fernhurst recently celebrated World Book day and the theme of the Rainforest to explore imagination and creativity through literature. Students arrived at school in fancy dress and looked fantastic. Mathilde Chanvin arrived with an important message and set a positive example to students about the Rainforest whilst continuing one of her normal and routine sessions of litter picking in the school garden. Layla Slater, a student in year 3 said, ‘I love the rainforest because it’s full of cool animals and creatures, it would be sad if we lost it.’ Another pupil, Cristi Taimea, picked up the recycling bin in his classroom when learning about deforestation and said, ‘Look how much we waste.’ He was joined by a number of Fernhurst students who came into school with research they had done, without prompt about the rainforest and how we protect it.
Roberta Kirby has also made a historical change in challenging the school’s provider of Christmas lunches and asked that this coming year the school do not make use of plastic knives and forks. What an incredible leap in reducing plastic and a routine changer for the school. Roberta Kirby said she was upset by the amount of waste she saw last Christmas and was eager to minimise it for the coming year.
Fernhurst will also be taking part in ‘Plastic Free Day‘ on May 8th 2019. This day was set up by Alex Rhodes of Hampshire Fire and Rescue with an aim to raise awareness about how much single use and disposable plastic we use in everyday life. A plan to re-educate and draw attention to the local community and their commitment to go plastic free for 24 hours.
For the first time in humanity, in 500 billion years, humans have the future in the palm of their hand and it is so refreshing to see the educators of our children promoting a desire to care for the planet and maintain and sustain it. A bleak World is ahead of us if we don’t.
Fernhurst School is an inspiring environment with some important messages to its students about how they learn not only curriculum based subjects but how they engage with the World they live in, in everyday life and how they can shape their own and others futures and the planet they inhabit.