St Lorcan’s B.N.S., Palmerstown

St Lorcan’s Boys National School is located in Palmerstown, Co. Dublin. The school has 25 teachers and approximately 350 students. They achieved their Green Flag for Water in May 2017, and they were also awarded the overall national primary school winners at the Water School of the Year awards, in recognition of their achievements in reducing water consumption in their school and raising the profile of water sustainability.

Step 1: Green-Schools Committee

They have an excellent committee structure with students from 4th, 5th and 6th class making up the committee. Some classes elect members to the committee while in other classes pupils volunteer and are then selected out of a hat. The committee meets at least twice a month, for a twenty minute meeting, where committee members are given the opportunity to voice their opinions. As well as having a core committee, they also have sub-committees which focus on maintaining their previous themes: “Water Harvesters” are responsible for collecting rainwater from the water butt; “Green-School Detectives” are in charge of monitoring energy and water usage in each classroom; “Battery Collectors” recycle used batteries; “Litter Pickers” monitor the school-yards for litter; “Bin Collectors” empty the recycling and compost bins every day and the “WOW and COW Monitors” record the numbers of pupils per class who travel to school in a sustainable way.

Step 2: Environmental Review

The committee carried out a thorough Environmental Review where they examined the effectiveness of their current practices and came up with ideas for new initiatives. They discussed the maintenance of the measures they had in place for the Litter & Waste and Energy themes, for example, St Lorcan’s is a zero-waste school, with all waste either going into compost or recycling. They carried out a review of the water usage in the school, by recording all water-using appliances, testing for leaks and they also created a map on which they marked all the taps and toilets. They located and read the water meter with the help of their caretaker and they ran water experiments to demonstrate how much water is lost through a dripping tap, and they discussed ideas such as developing a water policy for the school, organising a guest speaker from the water treatment plant and organising a clean-up.

Step 3: Action Plan

St. Lorcan’s drew up a comprehensive Action Plan for implementing the Water theme in their school. Some of their actions included:

  • Designating “Water Warriors” to carry out monitoring of taps and toilets
  • Carrying out leak tests
  • Holding a water poster competition and slogan competition
  • Coming up with a water rap
  • Carrying out a Walk for Water
  • Writing a Water Code for the school
  • Making a rain-water butt
  • Raising awareness through intercom announcements and updating the notice board
  • Making water-savers to bring home
  • Holding a Water Quiz
  • Carrying out a clean-up in a nearby park

Step 4: Monitoring and Evaluation

The school monitors and evaluates their Green-Schools programme through the following processes:

  • The committee continually meet to monitor water usage (as well as litter, waste and energy initiatives).
  • The Green-Schools committee children visit junior classes on a regular basis with the task of monitoring, reminding and updating.
  • At assemblies, all of the children in the school are reminded and updated of the Green-Schools progress.
  • Regular updates about Green-Schools work are provided on the school website.
  • The intercom is used to keep the school informed about Green-Schools work, as well as to provide a Water-Saving Tip of the Day, and for chanting the Green Rap.
  • Green-Schools Detectives go from class to class at lunchtime monitoring waste, energy and water usage, each month a winning class is selected based on the results.
  • A Water Warrior is appointed in each classroom, every month. Their job is to monitor any wasted water in their classrooms. They make sure that all taps are turned off when not in use.
  • All classes in the school were given a pack of work made up by the Green-Schools Coordinator. This pack included age appropriate work for each class level including experiments, games, web links, art ideas, and lots of other fun activities around the theme of water. Each teacher selected from this pack and covered the water theme during the month of January.
  • The water meter is read weekly and regular leak tests carried out by the pupils.

Step 5: Curriculum Links

All of the children in the school were involved in curriculum work based on the water theme, some examples of work included:

  • Infants – bubble workshop, creatures in the sea, an Aimsir, living things need water, Art-under the sea, floating and sinking, water uses in the home and beyond. Water used in the home display. Under the sea designs. The infants were read several energy and water saving themed books.
  • 1st class – water safety, drama: pirates, art: ship scenes, creative writing: pirate stories.
  • 2nd class – the water cycle, penguins, rainforests. Water themed quiz.
  • 3rd class – rainfall, water cycle, making bubbles experiment, rivers of Ireland Rainwater harvesting. Making Lava Lamps using water, food dye and oil. Made paper-mache snowmen using water that was found in abandoned water bottles left after lunch.
  • 4th class – islands of Ireland, electric lighthouses, art: Monet water scenes, poetry: “In the rain”. Rivers, lakes and oceans of Ireland. Alien drama. Insulation experiments and testing the temperature of water.
  • 5th class – projects on ships, bays of Ireland, the work of the RNLI, creative writing, Australia (Great Barrier Reef), water wheels, water treatment process. History discussions based on water quality and consumption over time.
  • 6th class – water projects, science experiments and I.T. photo stories on topics of water pollution, sea recreation, canals and lots more.

Step 6: Informing and Involving

St Lorcan’s actively inform their whole school of Green-Schools activity and involve the wider community. For example, their Green-Schools notice-board is located in the school hall, which is also used for community mass, thus members of the community are able to read the updates on the notice-board and stay informed about the Committee’s progress. They regularly update their website and blog with Green-Schools information. They requested information leaflets from Trocaire about water shortages in the developing world and distributed these throughout the school. They put up posters in the school and in nearby shop windows, they participated in the Walk for Water and they attended the Green-Schools Water Forum.

Step 7: Green Code

St Lorcan’s came up with a Green Code and a Water rap as follows:

Green Water Code

It’s time to face it,

Water’s precious, don’t waste it!

The world will not be right if we don’t keep up the fight!


Put a stop to the drop!

Put a stop to the drop!

Be green like a pro!

Conserve H20!

Watch the bill!

Do not let it spill!

Put a stop to the drop!

Put a stop to the drop!


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