Pupils and Parliament: Senedd’s Eco Summit sparks engaging environmental discussions

Four secondary Eco-Schools from Llanelli drove environmental conversations and put their questions to First Minister Mark Drakeford at an event at the Senedd at the end of June.   

Coedcae School, Ysgol Glan-y-Mor, Ysgol Bryngwyn and St John Lloyd Catholic Comprehensive School were invited to join the Eco-Summit by Lee Waters, Member of the Senedd for Llanelli. 

Pupils shared their successes of driving environmental change in school. Some examples include developing biodiversity in their school grounds, banning disposable utensils in the canteen, and establishing clothing swap shops for outgrown uniform and prom dresses.  

Their presentations were followed by a lively debate with the First Minister on the future of energy in Wales and the climate crisis.   

Representatives from the Woodland Trust and climate change educator Dr Jennifer Rudd were also in attendance. 

Passionate and informed 

In the dynamic and engaging debate, students fearlessly challenged Senedd members, drawing on scientific data and Welsh examples to illustrate their viewpoints.  

Themes spanned from nuclear energy and steel fabrication to the agricultural industry, the pupils left no topic untouched. 

The concept of sustainability clearly reaches beyond the classroom as students explored the interconnected nature of sustainability, delving into its far-reaching implications on people, places and the wider economy. 

A ripple effect

Having joined Keep Wales Tidy nearly ten years ago, Bethan Evans-Phillips, Eco-Schools Officer for Carmarthenshire, met most of the Llanelli pupils when they were still in primary school.   

The pupils’ passion and enthusiasm have stayed with them as they have progressed to secondary school.   

Speaking at the summit, Bethan talked about the “ripple effect” of the small changes being implemented by the pupils in their schools. She said:   

I am always amazed with the inspirational actions of the schools, eco-committees and individuals showing a determination to have a greener, better future. Pupil voice is paramount to the success of the Eco-Schools programme. These young people are the driving force in identifying targets, taking action and making a difference.

Bethan Evans-Phillips
Eco-Schools Officer

“Young people are the best advocates for making schools environmentally friendly”

Recognising the gravity of the climate crisis, Mark Drakeford acknowledged that the next generation would bear the brunt of its consequences. He emphasised the crucial role of young people in driving change and stressed the need for robust support to empower their efforts. 

He made this point clear to other Members of the Senedd on 20 June, when he talked about the success of the Eco-Schools during Questions to the First Minister. He said “young people are the best advocates for making schools environmentally friendly.”  

We couldn’t agree more!  

He then had the opportunity to talk to pupils of Oak Field Primary School in Barry. Pupils proudly led the First Minister around their newly planted forest and hedgerow whilst reflecting on the need for looking after trees and the importance of environmental learning.  

He even learned about the importance of bees from the pupils whilst tasting honey from their school beehive amongst the newly planted trees. 

Keep up to date with Eco-Schools

Don’t forget, you can keep up to date on all the latest news from Eco-Schools by following @EcoSchoolsWales on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

With the summer holidays just around the corner, the latest Eco-Schools Wales Newsletter looks back at an exciting year. 

Click here to read your latest newsletter 

Related articles

Schools across Wales begin planting thousands of trees


Read more
We’re calling on every school to have a uniform swap shop


Read more
Call for climate action as record-breaking relay travels through Wales


Read more
Owen Derbyshire joins Keep Wales Tidy


Read more