Eco-Schools Programme

The Eco-Schools Programme is the world’s largest environmental education programme and aims to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of a school. It encourages young people to begin improving the environments of their school and local communities and increase their environmental awareness.

Eco-Schools work through a simple seven-step process resulting in the programme becoming central to the school’s ethos. Schools can choose from ten eco-topics ranging from litter and waste to energy, biodiversity and transport. Eco-Schools work towards achieving awards – from bronze and silver to the prestigious Green Flag.

In 2016 Ballyclare Secondary School achieved the Bronze Award for progress made towards increasing the level of recycling of waste and the reduction of litter within the school environment. Every department now has a paper recycling bin which is emptied regularly by Eco-Club members, and an ink cartridge and toner recycling scheme in aid of Cancer Focus NI is now in place. The club is made up of representatives from Years 8, 9, 10, 13 and 14 who meet fortnightly on Wednesday afternoons from 3pm – 4pm in Room 210 in the Geography Department. The team are currently working towards gaining ‘Green Flag Status’ for the school.

Links to the Curriculum

Issues surrounding sustainable development are explored through curriculum activities in many year groups.

Business Studies Department

In GCSE Business Studies pupils study:

  • Corporate responsibility
  • Business aims, including environmental responsibility

In Business and Services (Occupational Studies) pupils study:

  • Environmental issues including recycling, reducing carbon footprint and responsible disposal of packaging

English Department

Pupils cover topical issues such as healthy living and litter in speaking and listening tasks, functional writing tasks and in writing for audience and purpose. In Year 9 pupils read the novel ‘Trash’ which focuses on the topic of litter.

Geography Department

At Key Stage 3 pupils study:

  • Environmental geography
  • Geography in the news
  • The water cycle and how it is affected by human interference
  • Water issues in LEDCs due to flooding
  • Waste and recycling
  • Types of energy and their effect on the environment
  • Economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism
  • Climate change

At GCSE these themes are consolidated and extended further by looking at:

  • The Greenhouse Effect – cause and impact
  • Renewable energy sources
  • Contrasts in world development
  • Sustainable development of settlements
  • Managing our resources
  • Ecotourism

At A-Level pupils study:

  • Sustainable river management
  • Biodiversity

The Geography Department also support the charity Kids4School. This charity operates a child sponsorship programme which primarily enables children to go to school in Tanzania, Africa.

Health and Social Care Department

At A-Level pupils study:

  • Concepts of health and well-being
  • Factors affecting health and well-being
  • Health promotion
  • Local health improvement priorities

Home Economics Department

Healthy living is integrated through all aspects of Home Economics teaching. The healthy eating advice from the Eatwell guide is taught in Year 8 and further developed in Year 9 and 10. Practical work reflects the advice from the eat well guide.

In Years 8-10 pupils also study:

  • Organic food
  • Food Miles
  • Ethical shopping e.g Fair Trade
  • Recycling

GCSE Food and Nutrition

This course includes the following topics:

  • Eatwell Guide
  • Food Provenance
  • Ethical and environmental factors that affect food choice
  • Food labelling and packaging
  • Strategies to reduce food waste
  • Saving electricity and fuel when cooking

Occupational studies: Food preparation

This course includes the following topics:

  • Recycling of packaging
  • Healthy eating alternatives
  • Consideration of energy conservation and environmental issues in the catering industry. 

GCSE Child Development

This course includes the following topics:

  • Evaluating feeding options, breastfeeding v formula
  • Information on care labels found on babies’ clothing
  • Factors to consider when choosing clothing for babies, disposable nappies v reusable nappy
  • Dietary needs of the child and the eatwell guide
  • Information on food labels and packaging

ICT Department

In Graphic Design and Website Development (Occupational Studies) pupils study:

  • Environmental impact of graphic design on society
  • Environmental impact of website development on society

In GCSE Digital Technology pupils study:

  • Environmental impact of digital technology on society

These themes explore conserving energy, disposing of equipment safely and promoting recycling.

Leisure, Travel and Tourism Department

Pupils study:

  • Economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism
  • Ecotourism
  • Cultural tourism

Modern Languages Department

At GCSE pupils study:

  • Caring for the environment

At A-Level pupils study:

  • Sustainable living and environmental issues

Religious Studies Department

At GCSE pupils study a unit called ‘Care for the environment’:

  • Biblical and church teaching on caring for the environment which includes stewardship, conservation issues – what we do to destroy the world and then how we can look after the world
  • Animal rights issues and what the Bible says about caring for animals.