Eco Schools

Eco Schools

Learn to Love

Love to Recycle

The Eco-Schools programme provides opportunities to promote sustainable living and foster an environmental awareness throughout the school. We aim to link our actions through opportunities in curriculum subjects. Our major topic this year has been to develop the Health and Well-being of our pupils and staff and our minor topics are to promote Outdoor learning and Biodiversity. Alongside these topics we encourage the school community to continue with our aims to ‘Reduce, Reuse and recycle’ and remain as energy efficient as possible. We also try to provide opportunities for the children become familiar and learn about current environmental issues.

Eco Councillors 

Our School Eco Council for 2022-23 are in the process of being elected! Good luck to all our candidates!


Our School Eco Council for 2021-22 have now all been elected and taken up their positions on the Council.

It was fantastic to see so many pupils interested in joining the School Eco Council. This year one child from each P4-P7 class was selected to represent their class as a School Eco Councillor. We look forward to a busy year; primarily going for our third Green Flag.  





Congratulations to our eight new councillors.

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Eco Council Topics 20/22

Alongside our Eco Council, we also choose children from each class as Eco Warriors. We try to ensure that every child has an opportunity to be Eco warriors throughout the year so that our Eco mission is inclusive. These pupils carry out various duties every day, such as switching off lights and whiteboards, closing doors and checking taps.  Their photos are displayed on the Eco Schools notice board in the assembly hall.

Our Major topic: Health and Well-being

After conducting an Environmental Review, it was decided to concentrate on the major topic of Health and Well-being in our school community. This topic was very important this year with the challenges experienced during lockdown and the subsequent return to school.  As part of this topic we have introduced several Well-being programmes such as ‘Fresh Little Minds,’ ‘Neuronimo’ and mindfulness sessions.

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Two girls in school uniforms walking on a sidewalk

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The two minor topics are Outdoor learning and Biodiversity. We have been strongly promoting Outdoor learning in our Foundation stage and Key one groups (each class aims to go outside at least twice a week) alongside this Key stage 2 classes are encouraged to use the outdoor space more effectively for learning across the curriculum.

Two girls standing in the grass holding a sign

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  Planting seeds

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Alongside these topics we will continue to promote different ways of recycling within the school and reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill.  Our Eco Warriors will have a prominent role in the reduction of energy usage within our school on a daily basis.


Congratulations to The Eco council

We were delighted to be awarded our third Eco Flag. Some members of the Eco council attended the ceremony at Mosley Mill to be awarded the Green Flag. Well done to the Eco council and the school community for working so hard over the last two years to achieve the Green Flag.












Eco council Elections

Congratulations to our new Eco council we look forward to all the wonderful work they will do throughout the year.


Planting a school orchard

The Eco council applied to ‘Alphkits’ and were awarded £100 to help purchase fruit trees.  We bought the trees and some spades from the money and everyone enjoyed getting muddy and planting the fruit trees. All the trees are now planted and we look forward to seeing them grow and produce apples, pears and plums.




Science week

As part of our science week, the Eco council helped to organise some outdoor science activities for the school. We are keen for the children to get outdoors as much as possible. The Eco council were a great help by teaching the younger children how to plant. Some of the other activities organised were:

  • A scavenger hunt
  • Minibeast hunt
  • Bird watching
  • Soil testing
  • Planting
  • Aeroplane flying
  • Ramp testing
  • Water ramps

Great fun was had by all the children











                P4 Recycling workshop

We were lucky to have an informative workshop from Ryan Magee from NI Eco schools. The children are now more aware of how to recycle their household and school waste correctly. We are keen to reduce waste and to recycle and reuse as much as possible.















P4 Forest School Lessons in Lilian Bland Park

Our P4s were learning about trees in the park. They created some fantastic tree pictures using natural materials and did this all through the rain. P4 you are amazing!















Minibeast Hunting in the Park

P4 had great fun in the park looking for minibeasts. They found a wide variety of different minibeasts such as beetles, woodlice, spiders, earthworms, centipedes and millipedes.





Dandelion study in P4

P4 enjoyed the beautiful sunshine while they studied the dandelions growing in our school grounds.



Meet our Eco council

Our School Eco Council for 2023-24 has been elected. Every child who was interested prepared a poster of their ideas for the Eco-council and a vote was held in each class. This year our council has grown to 18 enthusiastic members who are keen to get to work and make positive changes in our school community. We are also keen to working towards our fourth Green Flag.










To extend our Eco mission throughout the school each class chooses Eco warriors each month. The Eco Warriors help by carrying out daily duties such as emptying food bins, recycling paper and card, switching off lights and whiteboards, closing doors and checking that taps are turned off.  Our Eco warriors have a productive role in helping us carry out our Eco mission.






Eco Schools Topics 22/224


Our Major topic: Biodiversity

After conducting an Environmental Review, it was decided to concentrate on the major topic of Biodiversity for our school community.

Why is biodiversity important?

Our school grounds and local outdoor spaces hold a multitude of wildlife. Children play and learn there. Through schools' biodiversity projects there are direct benefits to the environment as well as influencing our pupils' interests and attitudes. Exposure to nature has been shown to improve academic performance, mental health and physical health in children. It also teaches children about environmental stewardship and the importance of protecting natural habitats.

We aim to improve the Biodiversity by:

  • By encouraging the use of the outdoors to teach and learn about biodiversity.
  • By making choices that affect the use of natural resources.
  • By improving our natural environment through a garden refurbishment.
  • By developing an orchard.
  • By planting native trees.
  • By providing bird houses, bird feeders and bird bath
  • By providing a bug hotel, hedgehog house and wormery.









Our first Minor Topic: Waste

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle has always been important to our school. We have continually tried to reduce our school waste and educate the children in ways to reduce waste in school, at home and in the community. Reducing waste helps to reduce the need for landfill sites. Recycling also reduces the need for continuing to extract natural products from the environment such as logging, mining and quarrying. These cause a lot of air pollution and effect climate change.










Our second Minor Topic: Outdoor Learning

Why is outdoor learning important for children?

Outdoor learning improves child development, supports mental health and wellbeing, improves concentration, deepens the connection with nature and promotes an engaging learning environment. We are keen to improve our pupil’s access to outdoor learning.













Our third Minor Topic: Transport

Active travel is a great opportunity to have social contact with parents and friends. It is an easy way to get physical exercise and a feeling of well-being. It is also good for the environment because there is less traffic congestion which means less pollution.


School garden

Our new school garden was developed over the summer holidays. We now have a lovely seating area, climbing tyres, sensory path, water wall, music wall and plenty of planters. It has been planted with lots of beautiful herbs and brightly coloured plants. There is also an area planted with wild flowers which we look forward to attracting lots of butterflies and bees in the spring and summer terms. Thank you to our school PTA for helping to secure the funding from theLottery fund.






The  school garden before and after.








Poly tunnels

A huge thank you to Mc Millan Estate agents for funding our new Poly tunnels. We can’t wait to use them for planting.


Halloween costume sale

The Eco council organised a fantastic Halloween costume sale. We wanted to reduce fashion waste by reusing Halloween costumes. We know that Halloween costumes are only used once for a short period of time and are then discarded.  Our Eco council sorted and displayed the costumes beautifully. They showed fantastic sales skills when they sold the costumes. We had a wonderful sale and raised £220. Thank you to everyone who kindly donated costumes. This money will help us to buy soil, and seeds for every child in the school. We will also buy other items to improve the Biodiversity of our garden such as a hedgehog house, bird feeders and a wormery.




Recycling Workshop

Noel delivered a fantastic assembly on recycling to our P4-7 classes. Afterwards the P4 classes had an origami workshop and the P6 classes had a badge making workshop using recycled materials.



Christmas jumper sale

After our successful Halloween sale, we decided to try again by having a Christmas jumper sale. Thank you to all the families who kindly donated jumpers, hats and scarves. Our Eco councillors again showed their fantastic sales skills and made £120 towards their funds. We will definitely be able to buy all that we need to improve our garden area.


Christmas Jumper Dander

Our first walk to school day took place on the 7th of December. We are keen to increase the number of children using active travel to come to school. Some of the benefits of walking to school are:

  • body and mind
  • Improved muscle strength
  • Social interaction with family and friends
  • Reduced traffic
  • Reduced air pollution
  • Safer road safety
  • Road traffic awareness
  • Closer to nature

Thank you to all the families who walked to school even though it was cold and wet.



                 P5 Waterbus visit

The P5 classes had a visit from the NI Water waterbus. They learnt about the importance of preserving water and how to avoid water pollution. This was a great help with their WAU theme ‘Water, water everywhere.’


 Million Trees, Tree Planting

St Marys on the Hill Primary school have been working hard to increase the biodiversity in their school grounds. We have developed a beautiful new garden area, an orchard and with the help of The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Mark Cooper, we planted ten native trees on the school grounds. This was part of the ‘One Million Trees project’ by the Parks Development team.   The mayor came to the school well prepared in his wellys with a spade in hand and was assisted by some of the members of the school Eco council. They are looking forward to caring for the trees and watching them grow.


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