EIGHT schools across North Ayrshire have earned Green Flag awards in recognition of their commitment to eco learning.

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful renewed the Green Flag awards for six local schools, while St Mark's Primary in Irvine and St Bridget's Primary and early years class in Kilbirnie regained their awards in 2021 after a short break.

St Peter's Primary in Ardrossan, which has held a Green Flag Award since 2012, renewed the award last year, along with Dykesmains Primary in Saltcoats (since 2005), Whitehirst Park Primary in Kilwinning (since 2012), Ardeer Primary in Stevenston (since 2019) and Kilwinning Academy (since 2013).

All the schools took part in a variety of litter-busting and climate action activities including litter picks, litter surveys, recycling and community clean ups.

An exciting project at Kilwinning Academy, when pupils upcycled and sold a few pieces of furniture that was considered waste, was so successful that it has become an ongoing school activity.

During lockdown, St Mark's Primary School pupils did litter picks of local beaches and parks and shared their results with their classes, while St Bridget's Primary School pupils do daily litter picks around the school, reducing the amount of litter in the playground.

The eco-committee at St Peter's Primary School carried out regular litter reviews, and Dykesmains Primary School’s eco-committee reminded all classes of their responsibility to reduce litter at the start of each session, and then carried out regular surveys to monitor their progress.

Through textile recycling, Whitehirst Park Primary School pupils raised funds for their eco-committee’s activities, whilst at Ardeer Primary School, pupils litter pick three times per week and win house points as a reward for putting litter in the bin.

To complete the Green Flag journey each school has a choice of 10 topics to engage with, from climate action, to food and the environment, to litter, to energy. The schools also choose one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to link their Eco-Schools work to.

Catherine Gee, deputy chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “I’d like to congratulate the eco-committee, pupils and staff at each of these schools, who have worked so hard to play their part in combatting climate change and achieve their Green Flag Award.

"This is particularly impressive during a time of unprecedented adjustment and change to education due to the pandemic and is testament to the resilience and creativity of both pupils and educators.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful is committed to supporting all our children, young people and educators through our climate action schools activities to develop the capacities, skills and attributes required to protect our planet and work towards our goal of a Net Zero future.”