Staff and students 'really shocked' to get Suffolk greenest school award

Dan Mayhew, headteacher and his pupils from Alde Valley Academy, with students

Dan Mayhew, headteacher and his pupils from Alde Valley Academy, winners of the greenest school award with Andrew Rowe from Concertus at Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards in Ipswich - Credit: Suffolk County Council

A Suffolk school has won a top award for pushing teachers and kids to go net-zero. 

Alde Valley Academy in Leiston took home the greenest school award at the Suffolk Greenest County Awards on Friday, November 12 as climate conference COP26 ended in Glasgow. 

All of the 550 students, along with staff, ramped up their contribution to "drive to net-zero carbon", according to the judges. 

Dan Mayhew, the headteacher at Alde Valley Academy, said he was "really shocked" to win. 

He credited their "three-pronged attack" of pushing kids to take action at home and in school, their school project that created green guardians and the school's own boiler upgrades for their success. 

"It's not a case of changing your whole life. It's the little things that can make a big difference. 

"A lot of students hadn't realised eating meat for example has a big impact."

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Student at Alde Valley Academy Rosie said her green consciousness helped her mum think about installing solar panels. 

She added: "I would love to see world leaders [at COP26] say that we are in a crisis and that we need to help to fix it and get our carbon footprint down." 

Debbie Bartlett from Litter Free Felixstowe

Debbie Bartlett from Litter Free Felixstowe at the Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards at the Hold in Ipswich - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Over 1,000 people also voted for Debbie Bartlett to get the green hero award for setting up Litter-Free Felixstowe. 

Mrs Bartlett said: "It's not about one person but the whole community of Felixstowe. 

"It's about taking action as Felixstowe is such a beautiful place to live.

"We need to do many more things than pick it up. It's about inspiring the next generation." 

The Suffolk Tree Warden Network, started in 2017, and also scooped the greenest community award. 

Winners at Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards event, hosted by Suffolk County Council at The Hold in Ipswich.

Winners at Suffolk’s Greenest County Awards event, hosted by Suffolk County Council at The Hold in Ipswich. - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Its Tree Nursery Project (TPN), launched in 2020, currently has 16 Tree Nurses (TNs), who have sown 14,438 seeds.

Tree warden Fe Morris said: "We've taken the seeds from the best ancient trees in Suffolk and that's to preserve the local variation and to promote adaptation to climate change."

It has also distributed 20,000 trees and hedgerow shrubs during 2019-2020 and will ask as the distribution hub for a further 4,500 trees and 20,000 hedgerow shrubs.

Winners also include Suffolk Wildlife Trust Carlton Marshes for enhancing biodiversity and landscape, Precision for greenest business,  Skyview Systems for greenest small business, Still Good Food for waste reduction and recycling award. Steve Piotrowski also picked up Suffolk County Council's environment award the Derek Moore Award.

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