Denby C.E. (V.A) First School

Eco-School Committee 

May 2023

Biodiversity and School Grounds

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Award

Congratulations to Denby, we have been awarded a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Award recognising the fantastic things we are doing to support biodiversity and our school grounds.  Some of the work that has been recognised is;

  • Putting in a pond
  • Planting a tree
  • Improving our raised beds to produce our own food
  • Using peat-free compost and manure in our beds
  • Adding logs by the pond (we can take more if anyone has any spare!)
  • Letting our grass grow longer in some areas
  • Fitting a water butt
  • Using left over water to water our plants
  • Providing food for wildlife through our plants
  • Working with Kirklees recycling
  • Fitting a bird house.  

We are also very excited to report that we have blue tits nesting in our new bird box.

School Grounds

Lisa our cook is really keen to use our produce and the Eco-team helped Lisa pick the rhubarb from our garden during their playtime. 

March 2023
Biodiversity and School Grounds

The children have been very excited as they have spotted lots of frogspawn in our pond.

The Eco-team helped Chris put up the lovely bird box we had been made and donated by Arielle’s grandad.  Watch this space (or bird box – quietly!).



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Plant Your Pants.

Would you believe it? Class 2 really did plant pants!

Thank you to Mrs Osbourne for suggesting this activity for us.  Children have been planting cotton in our soil to see how healthy the soil is.  The idea is we dig up our cotton in 8 weeks’ time and if it has started to disintegrate it is because our soil is healthy.  This is something we could do each year to see if we are improving the health of our soil and biodiversity in our school grounds.

Here is one of our worksheets completed so far;

Kirklees Waste and Recycling

Thank you so much to Stacy and Faz from Kirklees Waste and Recycling who presented a whole school assembly on Wednesday 8th March 2023 as part of our Marine topic.  Everybody learned something.  Did you know a drinks can takes 100 years to decompose but can be recycled and used again in as little as 60 days? 

Class 2 spent time looking at recycling more closely with Stacy, Faz and our Eco-Governor Mrs Donaghey.  They had piles of waste to sort and lots of thoughtful conversations about how to recycle each piece before playing a special Kirklees recycling educational board game. 

Did you know that disposable coffee cups aren’t recyclable as they are made of plastic and cardboard or that you can recycle aerosol cans in your green bin?

New library books from Denby Dale Lions

We had a visit from David Absolon from the Denby Dale Lions.  The Denby Dale Lions are keen to support climate sustainability in our schools and community so they brought us some environmental children’s books. The Eco-team shared the books with the school on World Book Day and teachers and children enjoyed reading them. Mrs Gaunt has now set up a new Environmental Section in the school library so children can borrow these books and take them home to read. We have also added a list of children's environmental books to our Amazon Wish List should you wish to support us.

The seven books are part of the Wild Tribe Heroes series written by Ellie Jackson and illustrated by Liz Oldmeadow and Laura Callwood.  They are fiction books with non-fiction pages at the back so you can see how you can help the environment.  You can find out more about the books here;

Thank you, Denby Dale Lions.

School grounds and biodiversity

Well done to our volunteers who have started to prepare our raised beds ready for our GROW sessions.  They have made a fantastic difference already having added our donated manure (thank you Leo and Zac’s dad!) and the compost we had bought with our funding. 

Arielle’s Grandad has also donated a fantastic blue bird box he has made for our school grounds.  We just need to put it up now!

When Spring has sprung and plants start growing, we will also be asking our Gardeners to leave a border around our school field when mowing the grass.  This means the grass can grow longer supporting creatures and plants that like to live and grow there.  This will also provide a creature motorway around the border of our school.


Great news!  Denby Dale Parish Council have approved our funding application for this year’s Eco-schools work including funding; an extra GROW session, compost, some oxygenating pond plants and improvements to our raised bed area.

January 2023

The Eco-team delivered this year’s action plan to the whole school and our visitors, Dave Wilde and Mrs Donaghey our Eco-schools Governor.  Attached is the Eco-team’s PowerPoint presentation.  The whole school community did a marvellous job last year and were keen to take on more Eco-schools work for the coming year.



As part of our biodiversity topic we wanted to plant a tree to encourage animals, birds and insects to make their home in our school grounds.  We wanted to be part of the Queen’s Green Canopy Project but we couldn’t take the amount of trees they were offering.  Instead we chose to plant our own tree to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.  One of our parents very kindly acquired a tree for us through a local Landscape Gardeners who then planted the tree for us.

After our action plan assembly the whole school braved the rain outside to watch Mrs Wagstaff and children to put a plaque by the tree to celebrate the Queen.

December 2022
Our Action plan

The Eco-team had a meeting in November with Dave Wilde (Parish Council Countryside Officer), Mrs Ackroyd, Mrs Wagstaff and one of our Governors, Mrs Donaghey.  At the meeting we;

  • Welcomed Sam to his first meeting.
  • Celebrated and enjoyed our Green Flag award feedback from July.
  • Dave handed out certificates to our Eco-team.
  • Mrs Donaghey agreed to be our Eco-schools Governor.
  • We decided on our new action plan.

We are very pleased that Mrs Donaghey has accepted our offer of being our Eco-schools Governor.  We look forward to working with her.

After the meeting Joe and Noah wrote up our new Action Plan and here it is:

November 2022

Saturday November 12th 2022

Here are some of our Eco-fest posters.  Can you spot yours?

This Saturday 12th November, the Climate Emergency Working Group of Denby Dale Parish Council are holding an Eco-Fest.  The Eco-Fest is in support of COP27 and some of our children will have their posters displayed showing the messages they want adults to hear.
Families are invited to attend and the agenda is attached for your information.  
October 2022
Environmental review 2022 / 2023

Well done to all the children in school.  You have completed the environmental review for 2022/2023.  From here we will decide on our action plan for this year.

Click here to see our Environmental Review.

September 2022

Welcome to Sam in Year 1, our newest member of the Eco-team. 

Our first meeting of this academic year with Dave Wilde was rescheduled from Wednesday 19th October to Wednesday 9th November.



The children in school have been excited about the bumper crop of apples on our trees this year.  Lisa our Cook enthusiastically offered to make the most of them as part of the children’s school lunches.  One child suggested apple crumble but we shall see what she produces.

Lisa had done her research and provided these interesting facts for the children whilst they were picking the apples;

  • Did you know apples are full of fibre and antioxidants?
  • An antioxidant is a man-made or natural substance which may prevent cell damage/ disease.
  • They can also improve brain health.

Thank you Lisa.

Apple Crumble
Pond Refurbishment

Last year as part of our biodiversity Eco-topic we raised the funding to have our pond lined. Last week Gordon and Chris upgraded our pond and it is beginning to look fantastic.  Next, we need oxygenating plants and perhaps a little wildlife to help it grow into a diverse habitat. 

 We need you! 

Either, if you have a pond and can spare some oxygenating plants or even a newt or frog, we would love you to bring them in on Wednesday morning (21st September).  Chris will be putting them in after 10.30am. 

 Or (you can do both) if you have time/ expertise/ interest we would appreciate some support in the long term to maintain our pond.  If you are interested, please could you speak to the Eco-team (via Mrs Ackroyd).  


Hooray!  Well done everyone.

We were awarded the Eco-Schools Green Flag award that you can see flying at the top of our Eco-schools web page.  Here is our school’s feedback; 


Fantastic work!

We are very pleased to tell you that you and your Eco-Committee at Denby First School have been awarded an Eco-Schools Green Flag.

We reviewed your application and noted the following:

We love your democratic and fair approach to appointing Eco-Committee members. It’s great to see that other pupils played a part in the process. It was really great to read how your Environmental Review provided the basis for the projects in your Action Plan. It demonstrates a reflective and considered approach to your Eco-Schools work, this is a great skill that many adults can learn from! 

It was wonderful to see how completing your Environmental Review helped your Eco-Committee to spot gaps in your school's existing environmental activity. But equally important is that it helped you to recognise the great work that you were already doing. This helps to keep up the good activity whilst making you feel empowered to do different things. We love this! 

We love the range of activities that you and your Eco-Committee planned for delivery. You’ve clearly embedded the ethos of the Eco-Schools programme far and wide in your school! We have loved hearing about your involvement with the Denby Dale Parish Council, Friends of the River Dearne and the Denby Village Conservation Group. We love that your pupils have taken their great work beyond the school gates and into their homes and local community. This is a very challenging aspect of the Eco-Schools programme, so your Eco-Committee should be very proud of their successes in this area! 

Well done to Ida who has benefited from being part of the Eco-Team encouraging others to take care of the environment - Well done! The parent quote is a great testament to the work that you are doing with your Eco-Committee, that they are taking their Eco-Schools work home with them and getting their families on board is something to be proud of! 

I hope you and your Eco-Committee take great pride in your achievements, everyone involved should be incredibly proud! 

Your Eco-Code is really smart and concise. It's a great message and its punchy nature will definitely help it be processed by everyone passing by your Eco-Board. 

Congratulations to everyone for the great work you have managed to do, earning your Green Flag. You should all be very proud of your work and the application you have submitted!


Click here to view the press release we put in our September newsletter.


After the Eco-team launched our water saving poster competition, children throughout school took part in designing posters to encourage us to turn off taps to save water.

Our water saving posters winners were chosen and their posters have been displayed by sinks throughout school.  A photo of our winners with their winning posters is below.  We liked their clear messages to remember to turn off taps and eye catching designs.  Well done!

Water Monitors

Children throughout school have begun their roles as water monitors, making sure that at lunchtime taps are turned off and that our vegetables have been watered using lunchtime waste water.  The Eco-team have been super role models and organised the role.  Some children have even let us know they have turned off taps that have been left on when they use the facilities.


 Big Plastic Count Letters to Kirklees Council

Class 2 and Class 3 have followed up our highly successful Big Plastic Count with persuasive letters that have been sent to Will Simpson.  Will is a local councillor with an interest in the environment.  The children were concerned that by 2040 single use plastics may have doubled and would like to government to reduce their targets.

If you would like to continue to support reducing single use plastics in our community see more information here on Plastic Free July from Denby Dale Parish Council.

Denby’s Eco-code

All of Class 2 developed our Eco-code for the school.  Class 2 based the code on their involvement in Eco-schools this year and what they thought was important.  Here are a few of our Eco-code posters.  Well done Class 2, you had fantastic ideas and language.

Here is a link to our July newsletter sent out to families.


As part of our Water topic, the Eco-team talked to the school about how to save water and why it was important. The Eco-team launched a poster competition to encourage children to turn taps off in school.  They also talked to the children about the new role of water monitors in school.  A link to their PPT is here.


The Big Plastic Count

A huge well done to everyone who took part in the Big Plastic Count Monday 16th June to Sunday 22nd June.  We have been super impressed with the enthusiasm for this project.  We have sent you out a class link if you have a tally sheet with results to submit. Any problems just let us know. Here are some of your photos. Well done!




Miss Leijnse and Mrs Ackroyd are attending a meeting with Friends of the River Dearne on Tuesday 12th April to discuss and plan for some children to visit a local river.  This will support our marine topic and support our school curriculum.  


On Saturday 2nd April between 10am and 4pm the Friends of River Dearne organised a Bioblitz along the River Dearne.  They were based in a field in Denby Dale, not far from Londis.  The Friends had set up activities including identifying and counting insects found on the land and in the river. The field had been opened up especially for the event and meant that visitors had lovely, easy access to the river. 

Children from school attended the event and were excited to look closely at biodiversity in a local river.  Biodiversity and marine (all rivers lead to the sea) are topics our school have chosen for their action plan so this event was great for us. 

Emrys demonstrated how to take a river sample. He used a ‘kick sample’ by walking in the river to disturb the water and then tipped his sample into a tray.  The children found lots of insects including magnificent mayfly larvae and caddisfly larvae with and without their cases.  The water looked clear and they found a good number of insects.

Under an Alder tree Joe had an exciting discovery of many blue Alder leaf beetles (they really were a beautiful blue colour). The experts on hand offered support and information to help identify the insects.

Other activities were also on offer including printing in clay using natural materials. 

This was a super event.  The sun shone and the children had great fun. We look forward to following up this work in summer science lessons and as part of eco Schools.


Mrs Ackroyd and Mrs Hirst supported the Eco-team by looking at the finances for the plans and completed the Eco-schools support fund application for the Parish Council.  This had to be applied for by the end of March.

Our Eco-schools support fund application was approved on 16th March 2022.  Hooray!



Mrs Ackroyd and Mrs Hirst found out that it was difficult to contact the providers of the wildflowers for planting in the school grounds.  When they did speak to them the providers thought we should plant them in Autumn.  We then realised there was no water in our school pond because there was a problem with the liner. 

The Eco-team thought we should make sure the pond was working properly before buying wildflowers as they knew ponds are a great way of encouraging biodiversity into our school grounds.


 Wildflower areas in Denby - Biodiversity

The Denby Village Conservation Group asked our Eco-team to support them in asking our school community where they would like to see wildflowers planting in our village.  The Eco-team agreed on a letter to send to our school community asking for support for their ideas as to where these should be. 

Here is the letter we sent out.


The Eco-team delivered a super presentation they had planned explaining the results of the environmental review that all the classes completed.  The team showed the children how we chose our school priorities of marine, water and biodiversity.  They also told children about how they were going to start work on the plan and how our school community could get involved. 

You can see a copy of their presentation here.

 Eco-team ‘Water Workshop’ with Dave Wilde.

The Eco-team met with Dave Wilde for a water workshop on February 18th.  The objectives for the workshop were to:

  • Make children aware of the importance and worldwide scarcity of water as a resource.
  • To link our actions to implications for developing nations.
  • To give children practical ideas of what they could do at home/school to save water and therefore money.

 Now the Eco-team have met with Mrs Hirst and with Dave Wilde they need to plan how we are going to save water in school.  The Eco-team will need to enlist the help of the school to do this.  To organise this our next meeting is planned for Wednesday 27th April at 1pm.


Since the last meeting the Eco-team have talked to the children in their classes and with their help completed an environmental review of the school.  At their second Eco-School committee meeting on Friday 10th December the team discussed their findings with Dave Wilde who supported the team to develop an Eco-school Action Plan.

You can see a copy of our school Action Plan here. Our minutes from previous meetings can be viewed by clicking the link above. 

The Action Plan and minutes from the meeting are also on our notice board outside school.

Here is a link to our January 2022 newsletter


On Friday 21st October 2021 our newly formed Eco School committee had their first Eco School’s meeting.  At the meeting Denby Dale Parish Council Countryside officer Dave Wilde welcomed the children into their new roles and introduced the Eco Schools award. 

Watch out for more information.