Primary school wins national sustainability award

Pupils and staff at English Martyrs’ Catholic Voluntary Academy are celebrating after winning a national sustainability award. 

The school, in Long Eaton, won the Sustainability award, and £2,500, at the Department for Education’s Education Estates Awards. 

The school’s entry for the awards detailed a number of sustainability projects that pupils and staff have been involved in since 2021. 

These include acting as a lead school for sustainability across 25 schools in the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust. 

Gemma Ellis, Headteacher at English Martyrs’, said: “I am so proud that the school has won this award. It is a real reflection of the amazing work of the staff and pupils on our sustainability journey. To be recognised for the work we are doing with the children to help them understand the world they are part of, starting with our community, just warms our hearts.”  

Jo Pettifer, Let’s Go Zero – Climate Advisor and former Sustainability Lead at the St Ralph Sherwin Trust, said: “The strength of this project lies not just in the incredible work achieved at English Martyrs’ but the way in which inspiration rippled between all SRSCMAT schools.  

“I’m privileged to be taking that momentum and energy with me to Let’s Go Zero, a charity supporting schools to become carbon zero by 2030. That’s a huge challenge but transforming our schools will help safeguard the planet for future generations.”  

“All SRSCMAT schools are now signed up to receive free advice and practical support from the LGZ climate action advisors, to help us all carry on our award-winning sustainability journeys!” 

Projects at English Martyrs’ include a pre-loved uniform exchange, a drive to minimise food waste, sustainable transport weeks and a Vegan Thursday lunch for staff every week. 

Widlflower seeds were scattered in parts of the school grounds to boost bio-diversity and a commitment was made to become a zero waste school by ensuring that hard-to-recycle waste was collected for recycling.

One of the school’s biggest projects was creating an eco-garden with funding secured from East Midlands Airport. English Martyrs’ was one of eight schools across the Trust which bid successfully for the EMA funding. 

The school also created an online action platform which links all 25 Trust schools on an interactive map. To date, 343 sustainable actions have been replicated across the Trust. 

From second left to right: Beverly Quinn (Engineering and Indoor Environment Lead, Department for Education), Max Copeland (teacher at English Martyrs’), Jo Pettifer and Ben Fogle.