Ashley C of E Primary School, an Ambassador school for Eco schools, is leading the way to a better, more sustainable future through their various eco-friendly schemes. Nature's seven principles of harmony (geometry, interdependence, cycle, diversity, well-being, adaption and oneness) underpin everything they do.  People from all over the world come to visit and witness their excellent example, including the Prince of Wales and teachers from Japan.  In a recent interview with me, Richard Dunne (the headmaster), revealed his passion for the environment.

When and why did the school make the decision to become an 'Eco School'?

When I first came to the school, over fifteen years ago now, it was not really doing much on the eco side.  So, I started a club called Roots and Shoots which is a global organisation of young people's groups who promote projects around caring for the world.  We did lots of environmental work, grew our own food and we had some chickens as well.  Then I looked at how we could make this club more main stream, so the entire school could get involved.  Our first project looked at trying to reduce our energy consumption as a whole school.  Now, each year group has a unique role to play which helps them to understand that they are the leaders of the change they want to see.

How does this benefit the children's education?

There is two sides to education- the core skills and then making learning purposeful, which is probably not developed enough.  Learning about sustainability gets teachers, as much as the children to really think about learning being real, not just reading out of a book, linking everything to the real world.

How do you ensure that food waste is minimal?

The starting point is to make sure the children enjoy the menu, so we always evaluate the dishes to see what is working.  We also make sure the portions are the right size and then we encourage the children to eat everything on their plate.  At the end of all this, we weigh the food waste, before it gets composted and put back on our own growing areas.  This is what we call a closed loop system because there is no waste and it is a cirular cycle.  In fact, all of nature work in circles, and this is the one thing that we do not do enough of.  Therefore, nature is the best teacher for a sustainable future; it teaches us the practices to make our future work well.  Principles of harmony teach us that the world around us is about systems that work together.  When you understand this, then your practices will be equally harmonious.

So, overall, why is it important to you that the school teaches the children about being green?

I think it's more than just being green; it is a way of life that puts well-being at it's centre.  Sustainibility practices are part of this understanding.