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Uniting schools - learning about plastic

Many schools are already teaching young people about the environmental impact of plastic waste; but then looking for the next level to motivate, inspire and recognise the teachers and learners for all their hard work.

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Welcome to the Ocean Guardian Challenge!

A free accreditation scheme offering Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. At the time of writing this there are 112 Schools across the UK taking part, so far!

The Ocean Guardian Challenge is fundamentally aimed at developing children’s knowledge of plastic and how we can work together to reduce plastic wastage.

There are three parts to the challenge:

  1. Get young people learning about plastic
  2. Get schools to reduce their plastic footprint
  3. Get more people connected with their local water ways

You can find out more by watching our plastic education assembly -

What do we do?

We are a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognised training school, offering Sailing, Windsurfing and Powerboating. We are working with the RYA Onboard program to get even more aspirant participants afloat in the UK. We want to make it easy to open the door to new opportunities for both schools and children to engage with and explore a life on the water.

What is it?

The Ocean Guardian accreditation is divided into three tiers, bronze, silver, and gold to allow for ongoing development and progress. The best part is that there are no setup costs, all of the lesson plans and content to support the accreditation is absolutely free, and there are no limitations on how you grow the project within your learning facility.


Joining the Ocean Guardian team is an opportunity to do something different in your school while still delivering key curriculum learning. Resources are categorised by age, curriculum, subject area and main topic (e.g. pollution, recycling,). 

Our goal is to achieve an exciting and dynamic spread of knowledge across the primary and secondary education sector. The more children that actually use the marine environment, the more they will be aware of the damage being done to waterways that sustain sailing, surfing, swimming and much more.

How will this help you?

Essentially this project will support children’s awareness of global issues, helping them with personal and social development. Linking with the new Ofsted framework of ‘Cultural Capital’ by giving them real life experiences in a real-world climate situation. This project could also link to a physical education, science and design technology curriculum.

If your school has already started plastic education you could be well on your way to getting the Bronze accreditation, this could be you

So what are you waiting for? Get your school on the map!

To find out how you can get involved why not give us a call on 01784 248881 and see how your school could help make a difference. Visit our website download the Event Guide

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Background: A community project set up by Queen Mary Sailing Club (QM) to educate young people about plastic and recycling has received a £17,000 grant from Heathrow Community Fund. 

Young people in school today will bear the brunt of the future environmental impact of inadequately managed plastic. This Challenge will develop awareness of the environmental impact of plastic through a new Accreditation for Schools. Our aim is to inspire plastic education in classrooms, to promote respect for our waterways and to increase sailing participation, to unite schools and create awareness of the global issue of plastic pollution which ends up in our oceans every year.

Richard Steele, Commodore of QM said “Plastic Bottles seem harmless enough, they are convenient and disposable - or are they? In fact, here in Britain we are making a difference with initiatives taken by our local councils, although less than half our plastic bottles are recycled back into usable products. The campaign group Recycle now estimates that in Britain alone, 16 million plastic bottles are not recycled every day, but discarded. These bottles can take at least 500 years to decompose; in other words, we adults will be leaving an unmanageable legacy for generations to come unless we take further action now. Furthermore, if we include developed, under-developed Countries and our Oceans worldwide, the weight of plastic will equal the weight of all the fish in the sea by 2050 … a sobering thought.

Education is the key to spreading the word, if we are to tackle this problem for future generations of our children; the Queen Mary Sailing Club’s ‘Ocean Guardian Challenge’ is a really fun way of doing just that. I look forward to seeing some marvellous examples of nautical ingenuity!”

The organisation was awarded the donation under Heathrow Community Fund’s Communities for Tomorrow grants programme. Quote from a community project spokesman: “Heathrow Community Fund is part of an independent grant-making charity set up by Heathrow’s owners to support and strengthen local communities close to the airport. In the past two years it has donated more than £1 million through three grant programmes, funding projects which support young people, help protect the environment and support active local communities. Funds come from an annual donation from the airport, fines imposed on aircraft that breach noise limits, Heathrow colleagues who raise funds for us, and John Lewis. The fund also supports and encourages Heathrow staff to volunteer and support the local communities where they live.”

More information about the fund and how to apply for grants is available on the website

Queen Mary Sailing Club will be working with St James’ Academy to develop and deliver the project. There are also a number of high profile supporters.