Seacroft secondary school pupils lobby fast food giant McDonalds as part of environmental campaign

A school in Seacroft has won ‘School of the Year’ in the UK Parliament’s annual awards, thanks to the staff and students’ passion for environmental issues and community transformation.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 11:45 am

Leeds East Academy is the first school in Yorkshire to receive one of these awards which celebrate the work of people who connect with communities and engage with democracy to tackle issues they care about.

More than 200 nominations were submitted to the judges, who praised the students and staff for making a significant impact in the academy and the local community in reducing single-use

plastics and raising awareness about sustainability issues.

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Staff and students at Leeds East Academy after winning a Parliament Award.

Some of this work included campaigning with nearby Parklands Primary School, encouraging the local McDonald’s to advertise free water refills, negotiating with a waste management

company to develop a new recycling system, and working with a local community centre to upcycle single-use plastics.

Sarah Carrie, principal at Leeds East Academy, said: “Winning ‘School of the Year’ is a fantastic achievement as the award recognises their hard work, commitment and dedication to making a difference. We could not be prouder of their work and what they have achieved.

“The students and staff involved have demonstrated an absolute passion for corporate social responsibility. Our community is fundamental in every decision we make, and it is wonderful

to see how our young people have embodied this vision to positively influence social change and drive community transformation. We are extremely proud of their hard work and

dedication.”

The academy’s nomination for the award focused on the work of the Student Parliament, just one of many programmes which the academy employs to build students’ leadership skills. It

encourages students to debate issues, vote on priorities and tackle these issues through campaigning and the democratic process.

Sarah Steel, one of the teachers at the academy who manages student leadership programmes, added: "The students’ personal growth and development whilst being involved in this work has been incredible to observe. They have transformed from shy, quiet teenagers to confident young leaders who speak articulately to large audiences about issues that matter.

“We hope that winning this award will inspire more of our students and members of our community to further engage with democracy and tackling issues that they care about.

“At the academy, we encourage every student to participate in at least three social action projects each year. With over 900 students at the school, this means that students

participate in democratic action and campaign work on an almost daily basis.”