Sustainability Hero of the Year

Claire Giles and St Martin's Primary School

A school with nine out of 10 pupils travelling to and from school in a cleaner and safer environment secured the Sustainability Hero award.

St Martin’s Primary School was previously overrun with cars, transporting its 550 students each day.

Pupils approached headteacher Clare Giles with concerns that there was too much pollution around the school and they wanted more road safety awareness and accessibility.

‘Some students or their parents will be watching live, but without them we couldn’t have done this work,’ she said.

An initial trial period took place at the end of the last school year where La Route des Coutures was closed to all traffic except cyclists, residents and emergency vehicles during drop-off and pick-up times and an official 12-month trial started this academic year.

‘We’re extremely proud to be recognised for our sustainability efforts in such a strong field,’ said Clare.

‘This has helped us to raise awareness of how children’s voices can change things for the better, not just for this generation but for generations to come too.’

Nominator Lindsay de Sausmarez said that Clare’s empathetic leadership and the children’s energy and determination have shown that a deep-rooted culture can evolve to become much more sustainable, with benefits to the whole community and future generations as well.

‘This has recognised how hard the school has worked to change the mindset of the whole school community to reduce carbon emissions and to enable our children to actively travel to school in a cleaner, safer environment,’ said Clare.

She added that the £1000 prize would go back into the initiative. 

The children have suggested clearer road markings and signage, and so the prize money will contribute towards making the area even safer and hopefully encouraging some other schools to get behind it.

Imogen Berrymand and Rocquette Cider were the other finalists.