Two local schools are celebrating after winning prestigious Best Kept Awards for their environmental efforts at a ceremony last week.
Steeple Nursery School has been named the North Eastern Education and Library Board’s Best Kept Nursery School, while Ballycraigy Primary School won in the Primary category.
Almost 200 schools across the five education board areas entered the competition, which is run by the Northern Ireland Amenity Council and which seeks to reward clean, tidy and environmentally conscious schools across Northern Ireland.
Chair of the Amenity Council, Doreen Muskett MBE, said: “Congratulations to each and every one of our winning schools. With so many worthy entries, the judges had a difficult task to decide upon the eventual winners.
“They were looking for schools that were clean and tidy, with an absence of litter and graffiti, as well as evidence of commitment to environmental projects. Steeple Nursery School and Ballycraigy Primary managed to impress the judges on each of these fronts.
“The awards were originally conceived to encourage young people to take an interest in their surroundings, and to learn to take care of it and it is so heartening to see so many schools today making their environment a priority.”
Helen Suiter, Principal at Steeple Nursery School, said: “We’re delighted our hard work has been rewarded. We enjoy having the school look nice, and in the last year have created a new woodland area with a pond for frogs, a bug hotel, a fairyland and a mud kitchen. We’ve worked hard to make the outdoors a fun place for children to experience their natural environment.”
Principal at Ballycraigy Primary School, Hazel Edwards, added: “This award is testament to the involvement of the whole school community. We’ve developed our grounds, both outdoors and indoors, and in particular we launched ‘Grow Wild’, which involves our outdoor garden and wildflower project.”
Each of the winning schools has been awarded a monetary prize that will help them with their future environmental projects, as well as attractive signage and a crystal trophy.