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Green Day 2023 - sustainable fashion

Following Earth Day this weekend BGS is looking forward to our whole school Green Day on 27 April with a focus on sustainable fashion.

The foundations for this started at the end of last term with the Year 8 cross curricular ‘Make a Change Day’. We were fortunate to have a visit from Tim James, co-founder of School Blazer to deliver a whole school assembly about the work that they are doing to make our school uniform as sustainable as possible. He encouraged students to take the ‘30 wears challenge’ as he informed us that the average number of times that a garment is worn in the UK is just seven times.

Year 8 then took part in a range of lessons throughout the morning on the theme of sustainable fashion, including a School Blazer workshop, Chemistry lessons where pupils investigated different textile fabrics and made nylon, Business Studies considering branding and how companies persuaded consumers to buy clothes, Geography considering the environmental impacts of fast fashion, a PRE Philosothon with a community of inquiry into fast fashion, Music studying Punk and its rejection of consumerism, Art creating a ’Cape of Empowerment’ using old garments, History examining the impact of enclosures and the wool industry during the Industrial Revolution and English creating Patchwork Poetry using voices of different people in the garment industry.

Running off to the factory,
Again and again and again.
Get ready for the future,
Ma, you can relax now.

I wanted to raise them,
Set out to change;
You took our children.
Do your bit.

I see the wreckage,
I feel the pain
I see so many faces,
Why did you take our children?

To meet demand,
The rich oppress the poor,
No regard for safety.
The core of our business model -
So dry from screaming.

In the afternoon pupils came together in their tutor groups to reflect on what they had learnt and use their knowledge to create a House assembly that will be delivered to the rest of the House on 26 April to educate their Houses about fast fashion and how they can ‘Make a Change’ with their clothing on Green Day, which will be a non-uniform day where pupils should wear clothes that are second hand, vintage, or have been worn more than 30 times. There will be a competition in the library at break time for pupils wearing the best sustainable clothing.

Other events running on Green Day are a vegan cake sale at break to raise funds for eco-charities, a talk at lunch time on sustainable fashion in Bristol from Avon Wildlife Trust, a zero-waste lunch challenge and a tutor group eco-scavenger hunt competition.

BGS is committed to educating our pupils about ecological and climate issues, and to working towards a more sustainable BGS, and eco activities are on going throughout the year, not just on awareness days or weeks. BGS students continue to be involved with the Bristol Education Partnership ‘Climate Challenge’. Lower Sixth students Gilly and Kelly took part in a follow up to the meeting at City Hall in March, where they were able to collaborate with other Bristol schools on actions to improve sustainability as well as hearing a presentation from Lucinda Furness, from the DfE Sustainability and Climate Change Unit about the Government’s sustainability strategy and Jo Taylor and Libby Bowles from Sustainable Hive about how to overcome obstacles when campaigning for change.

In January, the Active Travel Ambassador team from Bristol City Council came to talk to us about engaging the school community in active travel. A team of volunteers from Years 7–9 was set up to investigate how pupils and staff travel to school. They found that over the last few years we have moved back to travelling by car and less by active travel options such as on foot or by bike. The team looked closely at our barriers to active travel, such as distance, and our facilities on site. They devised a plan to engage the school in an active travel competition to raise awareness of this. Working alongside the ATA rep the team took their research, plan and ideas and presented them to a panel of experts at the Town Hall on the INSET day in April. The panel were so impressed with the work they had done and with their plan that they received £250 funding to launch their idea in the summer term. On top of this the school won another £1,000 funding from the council to dedicate to facilities on site.

A group of students from Years 7-10 are also working with the InterClimate network following the Climate Action Survey completed last year about attitudes to climate change at BGS. The group have identified a focus on waste and are now creating a school wide campaign to tackle recycling and food waste at BGS. This will culminate in a conference in June where pupils will have the opportunity to present their campaign to other schools and sustainability experts.

The BGS Eco Clubs meet regularly and are open to pupils across the school. Come along if you’d like to help BGS build a more sustainable future – to find out more talk to Mrs Yates or Mrs Hutchings in the Senior School or Mrs Plaisted-Smith in BGS Infants and Juniors.