Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Voluntary Academy has achieved a prestigious award in recognition of its efforts to live simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities.

The school has become the first secondary school in the East Midlands to achieve CAFOD’s LiveSimply Award.

At the centre of the school’s efforts to earn the award is a new Eco Prayer Garden, which was funded as part a project run by East Midlands Airport.

The airport asked schools to submit designs for gardens or green spaces that substantially boost biodiversity and lead to improved wellbeing.

Pupils created the garden design and considered the local wildlife and how they could incorporate the school values of Love, Respect, Hope, Kindness and Resilience, whilst looking after nature.

Students also identified the need for the school community to be recycling, composting, growing their own herbs and vegetables to be used in Food and Nutrition lessons and considering the packaging of food in the canteen, which was reviewed to ensure it was more sustainable and able to be recycled.

Locally, regular food bank collections were held, students made ceramic poppies for local care homes and delivered and installed them for Remembrance Day, sent Christmas cards and regularly raised money for local charities.

Globally the school has helped to raise £15,000 over the years to build 15 freshwater wells in Africa. Other annual events to support CAFOD, the official aid agency for the Catholic Church, are the sharing of simple lunches for family fast days and taking part in the Big Lent Walk.

This laest accolade follows the school being shortlisted in the Secondary School of the Year category at the upcoming TES awards and being judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted earlier this year.

Laura O’Leary, Headteacher at Blessed Robert Sutton, said: “We are extremely proud to have received the LiveSimply Award, as it validates the remarkable efforts of our pupils and staff in promoting sustainable living and supporting those in need.

“Our school community has shown great dedication and commitment to creating a better future for all. We are grateful to CAFOD for their recognition and to East Midlands Airport for their invaluable support. Together, we will continue to strive for excellence in our pursuit of a more just and sustainable world.”

Siobhan Farnell, CAFOD LiveSimply Award Assessor was delighted to confirm Blessed Robert Sutton Catholic Voluntary Academy is the first secondary school in the East Midlands and in the Nottingham Diocese to achieve the LiveSimply Award.

She said: “The pupils and staff have truly embraced living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the world’s poorest communities. Their inspired actions have and will continue to make a real difference to the lives of others in their school, local community, and our global neighbours. We wish them continued success in all they do.”