Portsmouth Grammar School: A Commitment to Sustainability

On Wednesday 19th June, we visited Portsmouth Grammar School (PGS), one of our valued Patrons. PGS attended our April NetZero 360 workshop and subsequently invited us to explore their ongoing carbon reduction initiatives. 

We had the pleasure of meeting Katie Rowlinson, the Energy and Lettings Coordinator, who generously gave us a tour of the school and provided detailed insights into their sustainability efforts. Our Business Climate Action Programme aims to highlight the steps our partners are taking to curtail their carbon emissions, and PGS is a shining example. We feel it is crucial to showcase the efforts of our partners, whether small or large, to emphasise the real changes being implemented. 

Katie Rowlinson, Portsmouth Grammar School's Energy and Lettings Coordinator, standing in front of their Green Wall which features plants being grown out of brightly painted plastic bottles.
Katie Rowlinson, Portsmouth Grammar School’s Energy and Lettings Coordinator

PGS is committed to the environment, making significant changes to their daily practices to become more environmentally positive. Their pupils and staff lead the charge, demonstrating a keen responsibility and ethical approach to sustainability. 

PGS aims to instil environmental citizenship in their students, ensuring they leave school as responsible citizens who promote and understand the importance of safeguarding our planet for future generations. An interesting initiative is their “Binfluencers” initiative, which engages pupils in waste management and recycling efforts. 

The school’s Eco-Council, meets regularly to discuss and advance their sustainability agenda. They conducted an Environmental Review to measure their current level of sustainability, in their efforts to become a more sustainable school, contributing to the action plan that helped the school earn the Eco-Schools Award. 

PGS is proactive in both small and large-scale measures to reduce their carbon footprint. They have utilised their ESOS survey and carbon calculator to establish a baseline and encourage both staff and pupils to suggest improvements towards achieving Net Zero. Transparency in their efforts fosters discussion and participation across the school. 

During our visit, we observed various practical measures that have been put in place, such as sensors and timers, sending out reminders, and making changes in different departments. A prominent display showed a graph of the school’s energy consumption over time, with a quote from former US President Obama: “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it.” 

We were also shown the bat boxes and the Green Wall projects. The Green Wall, created in collaboration with Kikaaya College School in Uganda, features plants that attract moths, which in turn attract bats. The plants are housed in recycled bottles painted in the colours of PGS and the Ugandan flag. Plans are underway to expand this project further. Additionally, the compost used for the plants comes from the school’s food waste, highlighting their commitment to a circular economy. 

Seeing the efforts at PGS was truly inspiring. They are effectively teaching their pupils the importance of sustainability, demonstrating that both small and large actions can make a significant difference. 

Our visit to Portsmouth Grammar School reaffirmed our commitment to supporting and showcasing our partners’ sustainability efforts. We look forward to seeing their continued progress and the next steps in their sustainability journey.