Derby secondary academy helps pupils hydrate with free reusable water bottles

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Alvaston Moor Academy is part of Archway Learning Trust which has stopped selling bottled drinks, a move it says will save a million plastic bottles a year from landfill.

Students at Derby secondary academy Alvaston Moor have been provided with their own re-usable water bottles in a trust-wide initiative to save a million plastic bottles a year from landfill.

Bottled drinks are no longer on sale at the academy as part of a catering shake-up, and hydration stations have been installed instead so that students can fill up their own bottles, accessing water for free throughout the day rather than having to buy it.

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Alvaston Moor Academy on Bracken’s Lane is part of Archway Learning Trust, which includes 11 academies in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and has decided to make the move to no longer sell bottled drinks.

Vice principal Dan Ingram with Lucy Middleton and Amal NadeemVice principal Dan Ingram with Lucy Middleton and Amal Nadeem
Vice principal Dan Ingram with Lucy Middleton and Amal Nadeem

Lucy Middleton and Amal Nadeem, year 11 students at Alvaston Moor Academy, said they thought providing hydration stations and stopping selling bottled water was a great move both environmentally and for students’ health.

Amal said: “I think it’s much better because it prevents littering around the school.

“Because people aren’t littering the bottles, they are being careful about other litter too.”

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Lucy added: “A lot of people weren’t drinking water because they were having to buy it, but now they can just get it. Now we have these hydration stations, they are a lot better for people.”

Lucy Middleton fills up her Alvaston Moor Academy water bottleLucy Middleton fills up her Alvaston Moor Academy water bottle
Lucy Middleton fills up her Alvaston Moor Academy water bottle

Students at the trust’s schools also get a free breakfast and free fruit at break times.

Academy vice principal Dan Ingram said: “We’re reducing litter around the site. That’s a really easy thing that we have been able to implement.

“Also, we had 40 degree heat last year and we are getting more extreme temperatures in this country. Students will be able to keep themselves hydrated throughout the day, which leads to better health, and improved outcomes in the classroom because of better focus.”

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Nathan Jeremiah, chief operating officer at Archway Learning Trust, said: “We’ve been looking at our overall catering offer and the refreshments available to our pupils, and have estimated that across our 11 academies we will save one million plastic bottles per year by encouraging pupils to use our new hydration stations instead of buying bottled drinks.

“Our impact on the environment will be greatly improved by reducing our plastic waste so drastically. We’re also introducing other measures such as the use of reusable cutlery and crockery, more sustainable sourcing of ingredients and sending food waste to be composted.

Sustainability and our environmental impact is so important to us and for the future of our pupils. I’m so proud we’re able to make these changes.

“We have invested £130,000 in upgrading school kitchens across our Trust, including new ovens, kitchen equipment and cutlery to deliver our improved offer. This is alongside the investment in hydration stations across our academies to reduce our use of single use plastics.”

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This change in approach forms part of a wider project to review the food and drink available to pupils attending an Archway Learning Trust academy.

The trust has made significant changes to their school meals, to help promote a healthy, balanced diet for pupils, who will have the opportunity to influence the choices on offer.

With the cost-of-living crisis currently affecting so many families, the trust has also carefully considered the costs involved in their school meals.

Nathan continued: “Following feedback from pupils, we recognised a need to improve the food available in our schools. We want to ensure we’re offering excellence when it comes to keeping our pupils well-nourished and ready to learn.

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“Our new offer provides great value for money. We will still offer free breakfasts for all pupils and free fresh fruit will be available at break and lunch times. Our revised approach means for £3 per day students will be able to buy a snack at break and a meal deal at lunch. This simplified pricing method ensures that students are well fed throughout the day for a very reasonable price.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing the feedback from our pupils and their families on these changes and seeing the difference we can make to the environment with the reduction in single-use plastics.”

Current estimates are that a million plastic bottles are bought across the world every minute, of which 90 per cent are not recycled.

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