Award of Excellence in Environmental Education for Borders School

STOW PRIMARY School was named the Schools Champion at this year’s Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Awards. They were also crowned Scottish Champions for the third year in a row at the Better Energy School Awards for Excellence in Environmental Education.

It has been three years since the school made national news when it became one of the Hunter Foundation’s first # 100_Disrupters. They then rose to social media success in 2019 when they released their Million Reasons to Recycle video, focusing on the key statistic that 70% of the waste in our general trash could have been recycled.

Since then they have only grown stronger and are now an accredited Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free school and working with other Stow residents to become a plastic free community.

Their many other accomplishments include running student-run businesses that sell bamboo toothbrushes, Disrupter sustainable Christmas crackers, and Disrupter reusable masks. They have also organized garbage pickups and created a recycling center which is well used as a community facility where items that might otherwise go to the landfill are recycled.

As part of the school’s Learning for Sustainability approach, they have developed a food culture project with funding received from the Community Climate Asset Fund (Keep Scotland Beautiful) while a grant from Learning Through Landscapes supports their offering of outdoor learning. They also worked with the Borders Forest Trust and a local farmer to create a school and community forest with each student planting a tree during National Tree Planting Week.

Marion Healey-Smith, President of the Stow Parent Council, said: “The Stow team continues to work incredibly hard on all of their projects and it’s amazing to see how much the children have learned and gained through their commitment to durability. It has been another tough year so being Scottish Champions again and continuing to deliver in these areas is something to be extremely proud of.

“Their Surfers Against Sewage award was given in recognition of the many campaigns and initiatives that the students have carried out to educate and change mindsets about the need to act for the climate and to achieve it at the national level is very impressive. They are truly an example to all of us and deserve our congratulations. ”

The Scottish Borders Council commended the school for its continued commitment to recycling and improving sustainability throughout the Borders community and beyond nationally.

Councilor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Youth, said: “As a council, we are deeply committed to making the changes needed to become more sustainable with our Climate Change Roadmap, aimed at putting Scottish borders on track to ‘net zero’ by 2045, which is absolutely essential to achieve these goals. What is also vitally important is that we are working with our residents and communities on this challenge, with Stow Primary absolutely showing us what can be achieved when determination, creativity, enthusiasm (and hard work relentless) are implemented towards a common goal.

“Many congratulations to the students and staff for your accomplishments so far and all the best for your future endeavors, as I am confident that there will be many more initiatives and ideas to come. ”