Let’s Go Zero school action:
Down High School, Northern Ireland

Down High School has been running sustainability initiatives for the last 10 years. Here are some of their highlights: 
  • All initiatives are student led, and the school’s eco-committee has launched its own digital newsletter. 
  • In 2019 the school was awarded the Eco UNESCO Senior Biodiversity Award. 
  • Students have run a successful ‘Save H20 and Stop the Flow’ campaign to reduce water bills. 
  • The school aims to introduce a once-a-week meat-free day and bring back metal cutlery to its canteen.  

Explore the Let’s Go Zero map to see where else teachers, students and school communities are taking action to become zero carbon by 2030.

The teachers and students leading the action:

“Sustainability is a key part of life in our school. We try to ensure that all facets of our school community are as sustainable as possible. We need to set a good example which the pupils can then take home to family and further within the local community.”

Rachel Wilson
Eco Co-ordinator and Biology Teacher

What are they doing in their school?

Students have been analysing their school waste to recycle more and reduce waste going to landfill. As part of this initiative, they even followed their school waste to the local landfill – something the students won’t forget quickly.  

Classes win house points for recycling and Year 9 students run a Litter Legends house competition, which involves regular litter picks in the local area. 

The school is working with its catering supplier to reintroduce metal cutlery and to pilot a meatfree day once a week.

Down High ran a very successful ‘Save H20 and Stop the Flow’, campaign to reduce water bills. This included a video campaign and dripping tap audit, and the school bought Hippo Bags – a handy water saving device – for all its toilets. And when the students analysed water usage costs with senior management, they discover they had been over-charged by more than £10,000!  

To promote a more global approach, Down ran a fundraising Toilet Twinning competition to support the installation of school toilets in Uganda. This was great fun, with pupils paying to throw wet sponges at teachers sitting on toilets in the school playground.  

The school has developed a school garden, with raised beds for vegetables and herbs. There is also a wildflower area, where each year, year 14 pupils sow wildflower seed as a legacy to their time at school.  

The school has secured trees for year eight pupils to plant and collected data for national surveys of birds, pollinators, and marine mammals. 

The Eco Committee and Enrichment group has asked every school department to include an aspect of the climate crisis in its teaching. This includes non-teaching departments, such as office staff and the canteen. 

en_GBEnglish (UK)