Community Starts with a Sponge...

Whether it has been through gleefully soaking teachers, baking cakes, wearing mufti, or designing a postcard, the PGS community have been busy fundraising this term as well as taking part in events and activities around sustainability and community awareness.

It is always one of the most popular Senior School fundraising events of the summer term... with the pupils! This year £245 was raised in just 25 minutes for Chai Thom School in Cambodia as pupils raced to throw sponges and empty buckets of cold water over the brave teachers that came out to face them.

Thank you to the pupils for their generosity and to the teachers for putting themselves in the front line!

Over 600 postcards were submitted to the picture.postcard exhibition run by the Art Department this term. All of the cards were exhibited at the Jack House Gallery on the High Street and visitors could purchase them, with all funds raised going to Kikaaya College School in Uganda.

The postcards were created using a variety of media, from more traditional materials such as pencil and paint, to collage, porcelain, weaving and knitting. A number of pupils from Kikaaya College School have also sent examples of beadwork postcards and postcards made by painting on bark for inclusion in the exhibition.

We have been delighted to welcome 70 children from St George's Beneficial School and St John's Catholic School, both in Portsmouth, for Geography Discovery Days (pictured) recently as part of our community outreach programme. The children came in to take part in a number of different activities such as using QR codes to map the school site, using the green screen for plastic pledges and collecting weather data, all aimed at enriching their curriculum learning in school. All the pupils taking part had a fantastic time and many thanks to the Geography department for organising the activities and our Geography Sixth Form pupils with helping guide the visiting pupils through the day.

We also hosted children from ten local schools for a Gifted and Talented Summer School. The pupils took part in a range of activities at the school and Hilsea Playing Fields along the theme of 'Fire and Ice'.

There have also been key events focussing on sustainability and what we can do as a school.

Two 'meat free Monday' lunchtimes have been popular in the Dining Hall with tasty alternatives to meat being at the core of the menu. There was a whole school 'no single-use plastic' day and pupils were encouraged ongoing to look at ways to reduce their plastic waste.

Junior School pupils and their families have taken to the beach on Hayling Island to give them a clean and PGS Eco Club and Uganda Group took part in a #TrashTag challenge.

The #TrashTag Challenge was born on social media as a way to energise people to make a difference. PGS took part in this with our partner school, Kikaaya College School in Uganda – as global citizens, passionate about the environment and its sustainability, both schools took to their local area to make a difference by clearing it of litter. At PGS, Eco-Club and PUG worked together to transform a local car park, and at KCS, the whole of Senior 1 (145 pupils) took to the main street in Kikaaya with wheelbarrows, spades and a truck to clear it of litter, much to the delight of the local community.

With the global focus on the plastic crisis in our oceans, pupils at PGS were also involved in an innovative sustainability project this term. The Big Fish Project is a curriculum enrichment project stemming from the Ignite! progamme, in which Year 12 pupils have worked in partnership with Final Straw Solent to design a huge fish sculpture made from reclaimed and recycled materials that could be filled with plastic waste.

The fish was in school during Enrichment Week to draw attention to our sustainability work, and even made an appearance on Sports Day! Pupils from every year in the school have come to visit it and enjoyed filling it with plastic and tins, which will be counted and recycled at the end of the week, and it prompted much discussion about what we could all do to reduce the waste we saw. Pupils made environmental pledges and entered the ‘name the fish’ competition. Next week the fish will go on to educate and raise awareness across the south coast, including Cowes Week and the Victorious Festival, taking its PGS name with it.