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St John the Baptist’s College, Portadown

Eco Schools


The school Eco-Club was first formed in 2006 and has since gone from strength to strength, continually striving to help the environment and make the school more “green” and eco-friendly.

From small beginnings, and a membership of only 8, the club has become increasingly popular in the school and now boasts almost 30 members who work tirelessly to improve their school; coming into school early in the morning to attend meetings and taking part in nationwide competitions and conferences, such as the Young Environmentalist Junior Waste Award and the Eco-Schools green flag award.

The dedication of the eco club has resulted in great successes, including becoming the first post-primary school in the Craigavon borough to receive a Green Flag Award in 2011. This was followed by a second Green Flag Award in 2014 for continuous effort to increase the biodiversity of the school grounds and the creation of an eco-code for classrooms, which includes charging teachers a fine if they forget to turn off lights and electrical equipment.

The Eco-Club also are double award winners in the at ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist all Ireland competition. We were awarded 1st place in the Junior Waste Category in May 2013 and we won 1st place again in 2016 for the Biodiversity category which was a major achievement for the pupils involved!

Two representatives from the club participate each year in the Environmental Youth Speaking Competition ran by the ABC council. The speech is designed to encourage people to be more ‘eco-friendly’ and not to waste resources.

We have 2 eco-gardens, situated on the school grounds, which are a major part of the clubs on-going projects. Pupils and staff from the club worked to secure funding in order to set up and maintain this beautiful addition to the school environment and members of the club come in early in the morning to tend to the garden. In 2017 the college also worked hard to receive funding for extra resources such as a poly-tunnel, a greenhouse, outdoor classroom and various gardening equipment. The pupils in school take responsibility for looking after this every lunchtime.

Eco members were also, recently, given the opportunity to build a willow dome on the grounds of the school as the result of a partnership with Lough Neagh Discovery Centre. This partnership has also provided the club with more great ideas for developing ideas that will make St. John the Baptist’s College even more eco friendly.

The Eco-Club is very keen to spread their eco-message and has been involved in helping local primary schools and nurseries to become more eco-friendly and achieve their own Green Flag Award. The club hopes to continue to spread its message to the local community and beyond and to build upon its enormous success.

In January 2018, SJBC was awarded our 3rd Green Flag Award from Eco-Schools NI. The assessors who came out to visit our school were very impressed and gave the following report:

“The committee were extremely keen, enthusiastic and rightly very proud of their Eco-Schools work. They have achieved a great deal of positive and productive work since the last Green Flag especially in the Biodiversity topic.

The team are well led by a very capable and dedicated Eco-Coordinator and seem to have no problems in developing new ideas to keep the programme moving forward at the school. The pupils have an excellent attitude to environmental issues and are similarly dedicated to the projects they undertake. They spoke very well on the visit and seemed highly motivated to continue the excellent work they started and bring younger members of the school community on-board in the future.”

In 2020 during lockdown, the work the Eco Club have been doing was continued online and we were then awarded our 4th Green flag award! Mrs Carolan was also awarded a certificate for dedication to guiding SJBC through their Green flag award. 
Well done to all staff and pupils involved in this excellent achievement!

The Eco-club will run every Wednesday and all new members are welcome. This year we hope to extend our outside area and we have big plans for the future!

If any parent/grandparent or member of the community could help out our eco-club we would love to have a volunteer gardener for a few hours per week to help us maintain our gardens and come If interested please contact the school on 02838334725