Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Eco-Action Club spreads its roots

The school is a prettier place thanks to members of the Eco-Action Club who spent their lunchtime planting herbs and flowers into new planters outside the school canteen.

The planters, made by Mr Jenkins with funding provided by the PTA, are now home to an array of herbs, which can be used in cooking, as well as pretty flowers. Thank you to everyone who took part and supported this venture and to Ewenny Garden Centre for giving us a discount on the plants.

Dr N Stacey

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cross-curricular Eco-Schools project gets underway

Almost one hundred pupils stepped into the school's state of the art recording studio on Friday to take part in a cross-curricular project.
They put their vocal and instrumental talents to good use to record an original version of the current number one single, Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky'. Even the teachers got involved to produce a track which will be released to the school in June.
The words were re-written by the school's Eco-Committee and aim to highlight the need to recycle, to travel in a sustainable manner and to conserve energy and water.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Our impressions of the our Eco-Trip

From Pippa Jolles and Emily Matson-Thomas, year 8

On our Eco-Committee trip, we went to Aberthaw Power Station and Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Centre.

Aberthaw Power Station and the view across the Bristol Channel

Our first visit was to Aberthaw, where on arrival we were shocked at the scale of it, and we saw how massive these power stations need to be to even supply a part of a small country like Wales! It was so big that before the station was built, the site was actually an entire golf course.

Firstly we were taken to their education building for a presentation on what goes on inside the station, and from what we could understand there was an immense amount of precision, technology and science that goes into supplying us with electricity in the most efficient way possible. Our tour guides explained that Aberthaw is in many ways more eco-friendly than other power stations because they have now scaled down to three turbines that produce more power, making it more efficient. Also, as of 2008, they have installed flue gas desulphurization equipment, which decreases the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions by 90%, so it won’t contribute as much to climate change. Also two thirds of their coal is from Wales, they use biomass supplied locally, and they are currently trialling a new Carbon Capture system, the first in Europe, which has only ever been tested in lab conditions.

We then went on a tour around the station seeing the control room, that looked like the inside of a spaceship, where all the energy is produced (we didn’t hear much about that because we had to wear ear plugs for safety!) and outside where they use seawater as cooling water. They asked us to spot the spelling mistake in the “Danger risk of drowning” sign, and it turns out there was a danger of “drowing”, whatever that is! Despite the windy weather and “attractive” safety gear, we found it really interesting and our tour guides were amazing.

Afterwards we drove to Cog Moors. First our guide showed us what was in wastewater, with a very hands-on approach! Two of our Year 7s volunteered to demonstrate, and before realising what they had gotten themselves into, ended up pouring shampoo, shower gel, nappies, tissues, conditioner and even actual pee and poo into the water to make a lovely waste water sludge!

Then we were shown around the centre, seeing the solid waste being pushed out of machines in long lines, the brown sludge being removed from the top of the water and the water being filtered out. It made us realise how disgusting our water would be without places like Cog Moors, how quickly disease could spread, and also how bad it would smell! Again, our guide was great and it was a very interesting visit.


A big thank you to the people at Aberthaw and Cog Moors, and Mrs Ellis and Miss White for giving us the opportunity to go on this trip. We definitely learnt a lot!

Pippa and Emily

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Committee Meeting Minutes - May

In this meeting, the committee took part in a workshop to write lyrics for an eco-song. The committee also reported on their recent visit to Aberthaw Power Station and Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Plant. See the 'From the Bathroom to the Bay' article to read more about the visit.

The full minutes from the Eco Committee meeting, held on the 9th of May, are available in the 'Eco-Committee Updates' tab at the top of the page.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

We are a FairTrade School

The school has just had its FairTrade status renewed for another two years and received a glowing report for the activities which have taken place in school over the last twelve months.

The FairTrade foundation were very impressed with the teaching and learning activities which have taken place in the classroom and also with the fantastic range of products sold and used in the canteen.
They also commented on how marvellous it was to receive evidence of the excellent links which have been formed between the school and the local community and the events, such as the FairTrade treasure hunt around local shops, which have been jointly organised by the school and the local community.
A huge thanks to all those involved in these events especially; Alice Sturgess-Webb, Holly Richardson and Ellie Hill who ran the committee this year, and all the ladies from the Cowbridge Town group.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

From the bathroom to the bay

Eco-Committee members from years 7-10 went on a visit to Aberthaw Power Station and Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Plant. The visit was to develop the pupils' understanding of energy, waste and water issues to inform the Eco-Committee's Action Plan.

The day started with an explanation of the mechanics of the power station which incidentally is the same size as 20 Millennium Stadiums.

Pupils then went on a tour around the plant and learnt of recent changes to the power station to ensure it meets stringent environmental regulations. Even though Aberthaw Power Station will always predominantly be a coal fired station, it uses a growing amount of biofuels such as sawdust. It is also developing innovative ways to clean the power station's emissions, such as the world's first sea-water basin used to take the sulphur dioxide out of the flue gas before it is released into the atmosphere.


The visit to Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Plant was a lot of fun. Pupils followed the journey water takes from the bathroom into the bay - from the second it is clean water used in the bathroom in the morning. Year 7 volunteers were given a big tank of clean water and into it they tipped products that people put down the toilets and sinks - products such as nappies, cotton buds, detergents and fat. Afterwards, the pupils went on a walking tour around the site and saw how those products are filtered out of the water in different stages so that it is clean enough to be pumped into the channel. It is hard to believe that only 15 years ago the plant didn't exist and waste water was being pumped directly into the sea without any filtering at all.


Committee Meeting Minutes - April

In this meeting, Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Assembly Member, joined the Eco-Committee to learn more about the work of Eco-schools at Cowbridge Comprehensive. The committee also got the chance to have any questions they had about the work the Assembly does for environment answered by Mr. Davies. See the 'Eco-Committee welcomes AM' article to read more, and to view a video clip of the meeting. Feedback was also given regarding the staff car-sharing survey, with many positive and encouraging results. The year 8 Eco-Committee representatives reported back after their meeting with the caretaker concerning the school's water fountains: 'Where's my Water?'.

The full minutes from the Eco Committee meeting, held on the 25th April, are available in the 'Eco-Committee Updates' tab at the top of the page.