DECOs Newsletter

The DECOs (Downe House Eco Committee) meet each month to discuss how we can make our school more sustainable and environmentally aware. Upper Sixth student Zoe writes up what is discussed after each meeting.

17 November 2019

Meeting Three

Friday 6 December

It’s been a busy term! At our final meeting of the term the DECOs were congratulated firstly for announcing the results of their Environmental Audit at the Whole School Assembly on Monday 2 December. They did an excellent job of declaring their key findings and informing the school of the chosen topics for their Action Plan. The meeting then moved on to discussing feedback from using water containers on trips, as opposed to using single-use plastic bottles, and the DECOs discussed how we might remove single-use plastic in other areas of the School, including at water fountains. We also reflected on the launch of the crisp packet recycling scheme, which is going very well! The boarding Houses that have recycled the highest amount will be announced at the beginning of term and a prize awarded. The next meeting will take place in January.

Read the meeting minutes

Update: DECOs Environmental Review

On Monday 2 December the DECOs announced the findings of their recent Environmental Review in Whole School Assembly. Each member of the DECOs was given a topic to review, ranging from Litter and Transport to Biodiversity. Read the key findings here and watch this space in 2020 for news about our Action Plan, which will be based upon these findings and will focus on the three areas of Waste, Energy and Transport. Happy reading!


Update: National Tree Week

Downe House participated in National Tree Week this year with girls going out to plant trees with Head Groundsman, Ash, on the following days/times:

Tuesday 26 November: 12 noon – 12.30pm Lower School
Wednesday 27 November: 12 noon – 12.30pm Sixth Form
Thursday 28 November: 12 noon – 12.30pm Upper School

National Tree Week runs annually and more information can be found here.


Update: Crisp packet recycling

In each of your boarding Houses there is an empty crisp box which will be used to collect your empty crisp packets. By the end of the term, I will come around and weigh each box, and the House that has the heaviest weight will win a prize! The crisp packets can be from any brand and they don’t need to be washed, but they do need to be empty.

The crisp packets will then be processed by Terracycle, an organisation that recycles materials that are hard-to-recycle. Here, the crisp packets are separated by plastic type, cleaned and extruded into plastic pellets to make new recycled products. Recycling helps conserve important raw materials and protects natural habitats for the future, so by recycling our crisp packets, we will be part of this positive change.

Happy recycling!

Mrs Rachel Phillips-Morgan
Teacher of History and Politics, Environmental Awareness Co-ordinator

Event: Skype talk on Climate Change

We were delighted to be part of Microsoft Education’s annual Global Learning Connection conference. On Wednesday 6 November we took part in a Skype talk with a Pulitzer Center journalist, Elham Shabahat, who reported on her first-hand experiences of the impact of climate change around the world, in particular the changes she has witnessed taking place in rainforests.

Meeting Two

Friday 1 November

Our second meeting of the DECOs commenced with feedback from almost all our members about their Environmental Reviews on topics such as biodiversity, waste and electricity to name a few. These audits reviewed how Downe House approaches ten aspects of our school environment and community to see what we do well and where we can improve. After discussing some changes we want to see, like a reduction in meat consumption or how the staff commute to work, we chose Waste & Recycling, Energy and Transport as the three areas we are going to focus on in our Action Plan. A productive second session, which can set us up for some positive change to come!

Read the meeting minutes

Update: Plastic bottle free by Lent Term

I am delighted to inform you that in our efforts to become a plastic bottle free school, we are starting to roll out the use of water containers for school trips and events instead of using single-use plastic bottles. This has already been trialled with the Drama department. We will continue roll this out to different year groups and trips over the half-term, with the aim of implementing this fully from the Lent term onwards.

We are very excited about this initiative and greatly appreciate your support as we try to become a more environmentally-friendly school.

Mrs Rachel Phillips-Morgan
Teacher of History and Politics, Environmental Awareness Co-ordinator

Meeting One

Friday 4 October

Friday 4 October saw the first Downe House Eco-Committee meeting, with our elected body of students and a few key members of staff. We had a round of introductions followed by a quick brainstorm on what to name our newly founded group, landing on the great name of DECOs, Downe House Eco Committee! We discussed the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award and what that entails for our team, as well as allocating areas of the School for us to research, to formulate our action plan for making some changes. All rounded off with Mr Mctaggart’s amazing presentation of a prototype to help stop our use of single-use plastic bottles on school trips. A successful first meeting of many more to come.

Read the meeting minutes

Visits & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House, is to come and experience it for yourself – arrange a visit or join us for one of our Open Mornings?