S e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 0
The Dragon launched a series of ‘spend to
save’ environmental initiatives following a
Carbon Trust survey in 2005. Things really
gathered pace however after the school joined
the Government’s Eco-Schools programme
in January 2009 and the children became
involved in recycling, energy saving and re-use
policies across the school. As a result, the
Dragon was awarded the prestigious Green
Flag award for environmental excellence this
year. Of 14,508 registered Eco-Schools, only
1,194 have achieved this.
Initiatives such as push and sensor taps,
thermostats on radiators and energy-efficient
hand-driers were fast-tracked at the suggestion
of Dragons, who can be diligent when it
comes to turning off lights (teaching staff a
lesson or two).
Occupancy sensors – which switch off
lights if they detect no movement after a while
– are being introduced, with more efficient
fluorescent lighting. Loft insulation has
been installed or upgraded, urinals are being
replaced with waterless versions, and windows
are double-glazed (where planning restrictions
High-tech sustainability solutions such
as voltage optimisers ensure electricity use is
volt-perfect. A building management system
that is controlled by Dragon Estates Manager
Steve Poyntz and his staff from their desks
is also part of the solution. Steve works
closely with Kate Heath, science teacher and
house parent, who leads the children in eco-
Back in 2005, the Dragon sent virtually all
waste (except paper) to landfill. The school
now recycles paper and magazines, glass,
cardboard and green waste. Where possible,
surplus furniture and other items such as
learning materials go to charity.
Food waste that once went to landfill now
feeds an off-site anaerobic generator that turns
it into power for the National Grid.
In addition to financial savings currently
running at £75,000 a year, which help to keep
fees down, these initiatives are keeping the
Dragon at the forefront of efforts to reduce
CO2 emissions and enable longer-term
In autumn 2010 Dragon pupils will host
a second annual eco-conference. Following
a keynote speech from a prominent eco-
campaigner, pupils and staff from 20 partner
schools will pool ideas and expertise to save
energy and further improve sustainability.
What colour is the future? Ask Dragons, and they’ll tell you: green.
They are leading the drive to make the school more eco-friendly,
with children and staff working hard to put a green vision into
practice. This year has seen some significant achievements and
real savings as a result.
Beyond the classroom
We are also clear that learning extends
well beyond the usual curriculum subjects.
I will give three examples – although there
are many more. Learning about philanthropy
and social responsibility, a thread which
runs throughout the Dragon, challenges
children to understand the world beyond
the school gates and to begin to recognise
their responsibilities to those less fortunate
than themselves. Practical involvement in
enterprises such as ‘Make a Difference Day’
and the ‘Big Give’, teaches children the
Cutting Down
and saving ££
Saving water and reducing energy
use to cut CO
emissions have
in particular been key to the
Dragon’s green success.
Since 2006 the school has cut:
• water consumption down
by 18%
• CO
emissions from using
gas down by 28%
• CO
emissions from using
electricity down by 11%
We aim to give Dragon
pupils the expertise to learn
throughout their lives – to
take advantage of every
opportunity life presents
and to adapt positively to
new circumstances.
essential lessons of weighing up competing
causes, questioning methodology and
anticipating outcomes. We also encourage
children to take a leadership role in the
school’s sustainability and environmental
programme (evidenced by the recent award
of the Eco Schools Green Flag status) and
we work hard at developing the child’s EQ
(Emotional Quotient) through structured
use of Circle Time and the Family Links
The result is a school where children love
to learn. It was, after all, in the words of my
famous predecessor ‘Skipper’ Lynam, always
the aim of the Dragon to give children
“full scope for all of imagination and
originality” that is in them. I heartily believe
this is what we do as I see young Dragons
emerge as imaginative, compassionate
and intelligent young people, fit to be the
leaders of tomorrow.
So who knows? Next time volcanic
ash looms, it may be a (not so very) Old
Dragon who assesses the risks. When
economic meltdown threatens, Old
Dragons may find a better answer than
quantitative easing. Even natural calamities
may be alleviated by ODs of tomorrow who
are equipped not only to give intelligently
but to work out how to avert disaster in the
first place. I hope so.
D R A G O N S T O D A Y . S P R I N G
Green Dragons
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