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Our relationship with our natural environment has been an integral part of our identity for as long as the school has been in existence. That equates to 119 years. We offer an outstanding prep school education enriched by and in harmony with our magnificent 175-acre estate. However, education is moving fast. In order to respond to changing educational needs it’s crucial our facilities continually evolve with the needs of your child going hand-in-hand with sustainability.

We aim to give children and our teachers a shared understanding of our approach to sustainability. There is a whole-school drive to be carbon neutral by 2030 and our pupils know they have a big role to play. Our ethos is to increase your child’s appreciation and knowledge of the natural world. This powerful method enables young children to be independent, self-motivated, courageous and considerate.

We have an enviable reputation concerning renewable energy. In 2012, we installed our carbon-neutral woodchip-burning biomass boiler. This replaced 20 oil boilers, consequently reducing our CO2 emissions by 288 tonnes every year. The wood itself comes from the most local supply possible – our estate. The Forestry Commission ensures our woodlands are managed responsibly advocating our circular energy system. As a part of the Biomass Suppliers List and benefiting from the Renewal Heat Incentive, we are overseen by Ofgem. The biomass is fuelled primarily through chestnut coppicing as chestnut is naturally self-replenishing and requires little or no replanting. This renewable source provides 85% of the energy required to heat the entire school, as well as providing a valuable learning opportunity for your child.

Further renewable energy comes in the shape of our photovoltaic (solar) panels. Those on the roof of our indoor swimming pool provide power for the swimming pool plant room with excess energy being redirected to the national grid. These panels have helped us make significant headway to ensure our pool facility is completely sustainable. We are continuously looking at ways to realise our vision of being carbon neutral by 2030, therefore more photovoltaic panels will be installed on our Grounds Department base, Art Studio and DT workshop over the coming years.

Our children play a meaningful part toward improving the environment both in school and in the local community. The core of our sustainability education is our forest school provision, as well as our reputable Keys Diploma. Your child will have the opportunity to embark on projects such as building bee gardens, planting wildflower meadows and harvesting homegrown vegetables. Inside the classroom, your child will also engage in topics such as ‘Is Trade Fair?’, ‘Food Miles’ and ‘The Amazon Rainforest’.

The vision behind our education is the 17 United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals.our education is the 17 United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals.

Your child will be inspired be a proactive global citizen ready to play their part in building a more sustainable world. The Sustainable Development Goals are an outline on how everyone has a part to play to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Your child will learn about the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The United Nations aim is that we all achieve each of the goals by 2030, leaving no-one behind.

We are proud to be part of the South Downs National Park. In 2018, the Highfield Estate Plan was endorsed by the South Downs National Park Authority, the governing body of Britain’s newest national park. Our plan ensures that any future developments of the school site provide a net benefit to the biodiversity of the area. The 175 acres of the school site is part of a much wider estate of 517 acres. The strategy for the estate details how we will continue to improve our ecology, woodlands and sustainability. The overarching vision for the whole estate is to conserve and enhance the landscape’s natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.

Being part of the national park fulfils our school vision in many ways, including providing an inspiring backdrop to your child’s school life and offering an inspirational learning environment, both for their core curriculum and extensive extra-curricular programme. We believe we can enhance our educational value and its broader ecological and amenity value to meet the goals of the national park while at the same time offering the highest quality of education to your child.

Active, growing children need plenty of nutritious food to fuel them throughout the day. As well as ensuring your child has something satisfying to eat, we support ethical buying. We use locally-grown and environmentally-sustainable food. To ensure we can use as much fresh food as possible our menus are linked to the seasons. Our Catering Department and suppliers make as much use as appropriate of organic, natural food products and Fairtrade produce and to eliminate genetically modified-food and potentially harmful food additives. We ensure that our suppliers, local and national, are committed to providing best quality and value, with the highest standards of accredited health and safety. We expect them to have procedures covering full traceability of source through the supply chain, with comprehensive food labelling, supplying information on both allergens and nutritional data.

Our dedicated Catering Department is helping to eliminate single-use plastic around the school and has made significant changes in recent years. We now use fully-compostable cutlery which is made from 100% renewable resources and have replaced our white plastic disposable cups with a clear Bioware cup made of corn starch that is compostable and biodegradable. In the kitchen, biodegradable waste sacks are used and to reduce the amount of cling film we now use paper baguette bags for packed lunches. We no longer offer yoghurt in individual pots as a pudding. We buy in bulk and decant it into reusable pudding pots. Any waste that is generated is sent to Chambers’ recycling depot where it is sorted appropriately.

We hope to inspire this generation to lead the way in looking after our natural environment for future generations to enjoy.