School councillors from year one and two classes at Torpoint Infant and Nursery School were determined to ban pollutants, which were harming sea birds on their favourite beaches. They took part in a national campaign, including months of appeals and letters to the Prime Minister and DEFRA. Pupils also made posters and displays that warned people of the pollutant Polyisobutene (PIB). After garnering more public attention through Animal Action Magazine and writing lots more letters, the pupils received a response from the RSPCA telling them that their efforts helped to ban PIB off the shores around Plymouth and Cornwall.
The Speaker’s School Council Awards judges were very impressed with the determined and successful efforts by Torpoint school councillors to get their voices heard about an issue they felt so passionately about and selected them as winners of the 4-7 category. School Councillors were invited to an awards day at the Houses of Parliament in June. One pupil describes that day:
Our incredible day at London!
Our day began at 5.30 in the morning with a very funny feeling in our tummies because we were so excited! Before long we were heading to Paddington, for some of us, it was our first time on a train, we were very lucky to travel in style!
When we arrived at London we couldn’t believe how busy it was compared to Torpoint. On the way to the Houses of Parliament we loved seeing Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guards.
As we arrived at the Houses of Parliament we were so EAGER to explore. On our tour we saw Ed Milliband and Mr Blunkett. We learnt lots about the Government and even got to watch a debate in the House of Commons!
When we went to collect the award we were able to knock on the grand Speaker’s apartment door.
It was an honour to collect the award from the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP. He told us how impressed he was with our project of helping to save the wildlife in the seas! It was so good to have Sheryll Murray, our local MP with us too! It was the most memorable day of our lives.
We love being on School Council because we can make a difference to our school, our community and the wider world around us!
Head Teacher, Elisabeth Carney- Haworth, recognised this day as an experience the students would never forget. She arranged for all the memorabilia and photographs from the day to be published in a book that was presented to each pupil involved. She said, “This really was a day that the children will never forget and we wanted them to have a tangible reminder of the whole event. We are very proud of the children and the way they behaved and spoke during the event. They never cease to amaze me.”