Manorvale Primary School
Suburban: School is located in Werribee, west of Melbourne
Themes: Water, Waste
Key elements:Committee, Implementation, Audits, Curriculum,
Manorvale Primary School was invited to join the Sustainable Schools pilot Phase 1 because of its existing achievements – they had started with Waste Wise Schools in 1999 and Sustainable Schools was seen by the staff as a natural progression. Sustainable Schools also gave a focus to their environmental science activities.
There have been significant changes in the school since joining Sustainable Schools:
- School has become more interesting for the students and behaviour and morale have greatly improved.
The program has made the school more interesting for kids and their absences have declined (John Forrester, Former Principal)
- Aesthetic improvements with the low maintenance low water use gardens:
The school has gone from being a dustbowl to a welcoming garden environment (John Forrester, Principal).
- New parents notice the school environment and comment positively .
- Reduced waste through recycling and the worm farm.
- Sustainability has become embedded in the school curriculum plan through biodiversity in Science and through the school’s operations.
- The school is introducing a new canteen policy – less paper and more healthy (Helen Watson, Acting Principal).
Manorvale Primary School was one of six Sustainable Schools to recieve a grant from the EPA's Stormwater Action Program to:
- Reinforce school stormwater initiatives – small tank for frog pond, painted platypus on drain covers in neighbourhood, cleaning of river banks, litter initiatives on-site<.li>
- Use stormwater from buildings
- Demonstrate of use tanks and solar apparatus to schools and community
- Enhance existing garden beds to reduce stormwater runoff
- Establish wetland/garden area, with seats and bridge over an on-site spoon drain to reduce stormwater runoff.
To date the school has been able to install two 22,500 litre stormwater tanks and connect them to relocatable classroom rooves, fence and landscape the tanks and establish the bridge crossover to the oval with an on-site spoon drain to reduce stormwater runoff. Unfortunately the planned tank to toilet system for the urinals was unable to be completed because of health and safety regulations and other aspects have had to be deferred because the plumbing work was more expensive than planned. The solar power is to be financed by the school at a later date.
The school set out with an educational purpose in mind for the stormwater project rather than saving money, and to demonstrate to the community that it can be done: The School Council has an Environment Committee focusing on “The Green Living Environment” and the Science Committee takes responsibility for the curriculum focus.
- Savings have come through reduced waste to landfill and reduced water consumption through the rainwater tanks being used for the frog ponds, they will be used for watering the gardens next summer when they fill.
- The school has been awarded $45,000 in grants from Melbourne Water, City West Water, Green Seed Foundation, ABC Open Garden Scheme etc.
- The science focus in the curriculum has made use of the school grounds and increased student interest in schooling.
- Sustainability is in the school scope and sequence chart.
- The school has moved from Like School Group 5 to 4.
- Problem children can be diverted to hands on garden activities.
- Students have learned the skills to plant plants properly and have engaged in community plantings.
- There are across curriculum themes – green maths, language, SOSE and science.
- The Pobblebonk Walk has brought the Werribee River to the school (birds and frogs.
- The frog ponds are fed by stormwater and thus prevent loss to the system.
- There are indigenous plants and a bush tucker garden.
- Food scraps are used in the worm farm and the compost is used on the gardens.
- The Frog Squad takes responsibility for mulching, weeding, checking for dripping taps and raising environmental awareness in the school.
- The access to the oval for disabled students following stormwater retention work has been greatly appreciated.
- The school works closely with the local community, particularly on conservation activities along the adjacent Werribee River.
- Student absences have declined, and behaviour has improved.
- Parents have responded positively and the school has become a comfortable place to be.
- The whole school community has pride in the school.
- There is not a lot of vandalism and very little garden damage.
- Links with Werribee Zoo for staff and students and presentation skills for students.
The keys to the success of Sustainable Schools at Manorvale Primary School have included.
- Staff commitment.
- The arrival of a new principal who was enthusiastic about the local environment was significant in getting started with Waste Wise Schools and subsequently the Sustainable Schools Program.
- The new programs built on the existing strengths and commitment of staff in the school: The School’s existing strengths with committed staff, the community and the surrounds were real positives for getting Sustainable Schools underway (John Forrester, Principal).
- The shared vision of teachers and parents.
- The winning of grants has also been important in enabling environmental works to be undertaken and to maintain the momentum of the programs.
The frog squad at Manorvale Primary School takes responsibility for mulching, weeding and raising environmental awareness at school.
The frog ponds at the school are fed by stormwater.