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Prince Charles visits trend-setting sustainable school in Walton-on-Thames

PUBLISHED: 07:51 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 22 February 2016

The Prince of Wales listens intently to pupils at Ashley CofE Primary School

The Prince of Wales listens intently to pupils at Ashley CofE Primary School

Archant

One of the country’s leading eco-schools welcomed Prince Charles to Walton-on-Thames yesterday, to showcase their sustainable initiatives.

School gardener Darrel Leggett explains the sustainable policies at AshleySchool gardener Darrel Leggett explains the sustainable policies at Ashley

Taking inspiration from the royal’s 2010 book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at our World, Ashley CofE Primary School’s policies have seen it named as one of only nine eco school ambassadors in England.

“I was amazed when the headteacher, Richard Dunne, took such an interest in this,” said Prince Charles, during his visit.

“He has managed to turn the book into a living demonstration of how to reconnect us all to the world around us in nature and to understand better the harmony and interconnectedness.

“I have been fascinated to see what the school has been doing.”

Following the opening of the school’s new community centre, which uses locally-sourced Douglas fir for cladding and recycled Welsh slate for the roof, the Prince of Wales toured their organic growing areas, which are nourished by recycled school dinner waste.

During his tour, the prince also saw pupils sculpting ice while learning about Antarctica and climate change, and was presented with honey made by the school’s on-site bees.

“It was a great honour to have such a special visit and it was thrilling for the children and staff to sense his genuine interest in what we are doing,” says headteacher, Richard Dunne.

“There is now overwhelming evidence that humanity is living beyond its means, consuming and polluting in ways that are exhausting and degrading the natural world and impacting on the lives of the most vulnerable.

“It is quite clear that business as usual is not an option.”

The school’s sustainable policies include cutting energy consumption, designing school menus to minimise waste, creating biodiversity maps for the grounds and using an eco school uniform supplier.

They are working closely with other Surrey schools on their journey for a sustainable future in education.

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