By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
A primary school where kids wear ties made out of plastic bottles and skip lessons to protest climate change has been praised by Government inspectors.
Children at St Bartholomew’s in The Peak, Sydenham, are taught about UN human rights and movements like Black Lives Matter during lessons.
Assistant head teacher Daniel Meyer said the school aimed to develop the next generation of activists.
He claimed parents liked that their kids were taught to become independent thinkers.
The school, which teaches children aged four to 11, was praised by Ofsted for its “strong sense of moral purpose” at its inspection in 2017.
Mr Meyer said: “When we did the climate march some of the shop owners said our kids should be in school, but parents say ‘if my child wants to do it, it’s up to them.’
“It’s about developing these child activists rather than it being a parental responsibility.
“When covering rights and responsibilities, children will look at the rights of the child and UN human rights.
“They will look at political individuals. Year Two students looked at the green belt movement throughout Africa. We’ve also covered Black Lives Matter and LGBT issues with students.
“Our school ties are made out of recycled plastic bottles and we’re introducing book bags made out of recycled plastic from this year.”
The school has solar panels fitted and in summer they produce enough electricity to power the entire building.
St Bartholomew’s sells the excess energy back to the National Grid. The money is then invested back in the school.
Later this year it plans to have heat pumps – which take warmth from outside and move it inside – installed at the school.
The school also recycles items like dental floss and Pringles tubes which local councils are usually unable to take. Members of the public can deposit their rubbish in bins outside the school. Pupils then collect and sort the waste before it is taken away to be recycled.
Mr Meyer said: “Originally we were recycling crisp packets but now increasingly supermarkets are doing that.
“Now we’re doing biscuit packaging and dental hygiene products as they’re hard to recycle.
“We’ve done lots of work in the curriculum about microplastics in the ocean and we’ve had children go home and talk to their parents about it.
“We’re hoping to set-up a refill shop where we will buy things like shampoo in bulk and parents can come and refill bottles.
“The refill shop will be about getting people questioning where things are from and in the end hopefully when the children grow up they will take that with them. It’s about how we can live our school values in society.”
Pictured top: Children on an eco council litter pick (Picture: St Bartholemew’s)