Staff and young people work towards Eco Schools awards Prior's Court's young people are being empowered to make a difference to the natural environment in which they live. Prior’s Court has begun working towards becoming an Eco-School, securing bronze status in early March. Any type of school can join Eco-Schools, but due to the complexity of the conditions the young people at Prior’s Court are affected by, members of staff have produced adapted methods to meet the criteria to achieve Eco-Schools targets, as to meet the needs of the young people. This has included: Providing personalised methods of communication to support young people to independently take on tasks such as recycling and litter-picking. Creating worksheets using PECS to reinforce learning about green activities and help make decisions. Producing Eco-Schools themed activities on-site, if our young people would struggle to otherwise engage with them. For example, using our Virtual Reality headsets to explore the marine theme of Eco-Schools. Nine Prior’s Court young people have also formed an Eco-Schools committee, supported by staff members, with an environmental review of the Prior’s Court site completed by our young people. Looking to achieve Eco-Schools status came out of a desire for Prior’s Court to be more green, with a group of staff members also meeting regularly. This has led to, in the past six months, more than 2,000 plants and trees being planted on-site; installing more recycling bins and food waste caddies; and removing plastic bottles from staff vending machines. Furthermore, around 22,000 sheets of paper per month are being saved, thanks to our Prior Insight big data system. Nickie Dunphy, Prior’s Court Purchasing Manager, said: “Our fundamental aim for the young people we support is to give them the tools to be as independent as possible and that often means thinking deeply about how we do things. This has been the case with our Eco-Schools ambitions. “We are already seeing the benefits of our approach as our young people – both those on the Eco-Schools committee and not - are truly engaged with the tasks at hand and have been hugely enthusiastic in their efforts. This is testament also to the dedication of our staffing team. “We have reached the bronze stage but this is just the beginning – we want to reach Eco-Schools Green Flag status and make a real difference to the environment.” For more information about Eco-Schools, go to eco-schools.org.uk.