You may have noticed that there has been an explosion of green around the Temple building. Over the half-term holiday, pallet-loads of plants arrived at Brighton Girls, swiftly followed by bucket-loads of compost. Thanks to a small army of gardeners, the butterflies and bees are now enjoying verbena and salvia; snowy mespilus shrubs surround the science corridor and clematis climb the walls.
But this visual boost to our biodiversity is the not the only way in which we are going green.
Inside the Temple building, the walls of the central space have been adorned with Baux wood wool panels in a striking shade of green – this environmentally friendly, recyclable material is a creative acoustic solution that sits perfectly within our beautiful heritage building without compromising the aesthetics of the space.
In reimaging the Temple, the architects have been guided by the GDST’s sustainability strategy. The GDST’s One campaign (One World. One Future. One Chance) was launched on Earth Day in April this year and, as we approach the 150th of the Girls Day School Trust, we already have a lot to celebrate in this area. In September, the GDST became a certified carbon neutral organisation; all new buildings are carbon zero; each school – including ours – now has a Sustainability Lead and members of staff being trained through EduCCate Global, a UN-accredited course that up-skills teachers on climate change science.
On a local level, we are sourcing our first electric mini-bus, Miss Comerford has volunteered to sit on the GDST Green Steering Group and, earlier this year, we had a group of Year 9 students speak to staff about sustainability, having been trained by student leaders at one of our sister schools, South Hampstead. This week in assembly, Miss Lowe launched our Carbon-Buster Challenge. We have asked the school community to come up with ideas to reduce our carbon footprint, focusing on two key areas: travelling to school and food waste. The plan is to take the best ideas and trial them during the week beginning the 27th June; the information we gain and the lessons we learn will then feed into our whole-school sustainability strategy.
Keen to do my bit, I made a rather bold pledge in assembly on Monday: on the first day of the next academic year (conditions permitting), I will swim to work. I have no idea how long this will take, or whether I will have the stamina to complete the challenge, but I will give it a go. As well as encouraging everyone to consider alternative travel solutions, I will be raising money for the Friends of Brighton & Hove Hospitals.
The Friends are focusing their fundraising efforts this year on sea swimming and, as a trustee, I would like to invite parents and students to sign up for another event: The Big Brighton Sea Swim, taking place on Sunday 2nd October. To find out more, CLICK HERE.