Having declared a climate emergency three years ago, Project Zero is the Authority’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Inspired by that ambition, Barry Island Primary has been working in collaboration with experts from the Council to develop and create a body of work aligned with Welsh Government’s Curriculum for Wales.
The aim was to create a series of dynamic, cross curricular lessons to educate young people about their world and locality, including the importance of biodiversity, ecology and sustainability.
Central to that learning is the creation of an Eco Lodge on the school site, which was officially launched with an event last Friday. It will be a base for children, as well as the wider community, to learn about environmental conservation.
The school has worked in partnership with parents Chris and Amy Jones (Parent Governor) on the project along with the Altrad Company, an international company that provides industrial services.
Altrad provided funding, while local construction company Property Maintenance Services (PMS) built the lodge with support from the Local Authority.
Chris Jones said: “It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Matt Gilbert and Barry Island Primary School to deliver this tangible resource which, with the help of the teaching staff, will hopefully educate and inspire future generations of the importance of sustainability and the environment.”
In addition to the lodge, the Altrad team kindly built a tool shed from repurposed scaffold boards, created planters from recycled wood and installed water butts for grey water recovery to utilise in the school garden.
Pupils are now working with Alison Maher, the Council’s Associate Project Manager for Sustainable Communities for Learning, to develop a wormery for a food waste composting facility.
Headteacher Matt Gilbert said: “It was a wonderful opportunity to work with Chris, Amy and Altrad to further provide high quality resources for the children to access and learn. Effective collaboration has led to great partnerships for the future.
I would like to thank the Altrad senior management team for kindly funding this sustainable project. Also, thanks to the PMS building team for their efficiency and quality of the construction. Once again, it has been a pleasure to work with the Vale of Glamorgan’s team and gain their expert advice and support to offer pupils real life learning experiences.”
The design of the new lodge will provide much needed space to enable classes to learn about biodiversity, ecology and the local environment in alignment with exciting new curriculum arrangements.
Following the opening ceremony, Year 1 and 2 pupils were provided with a great learning opportunity with Plantasia Tropical Zoo, to learn about different reptiles and their habitats.
Cllr Rhiannon Birch, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Education, Arts and the Welsh language, said: “I’m thrilled that Barry Island Primary School has embraced the Council’s Project Zero initiative, turning it into a practical and relevant syllabus for pupils.
“Never has environmental awareness been more important and, as the next generation, these children can play a vital part in our goal to significantly reduce our carbon output.”