CHILDREN who have been acting as mini caretakers at their school have won a special award.
Pupils at Penhale Infant School in Fratton, love working with caretaker Mike Bond acting as mini apprentices, helping him keep the building and grounds clean and tidy.
Now they’ve won a prestigious prize in the city’s Tidy Schools competition.
The annual contest, run by Portsmouth City Council, was entered by 40 schools this year. It has been running for 22 years and helps to teach children to care for their environment.
Penhale won the special Judges’ Award, given to a school which has put in a special effort and shows the most potential. It means £75 and a trophy for the school.
Mike Bond runs a scheme called PS2C (Penhale School to Clean) with the children.
He said: ‘Every playtime about six or seven of them put on hi-vis jackets, and go out with litter-grabbers and buckets, picking up rubbish and leaves.
‘They have a special trolley with all their brooms and equipment on it.
‘It’s proved quite popular. It’s fantastic to win a prize.
‘It teaches them a little bit of respect about looking after the playground. Hopefully they pick it up at home and pick up bits of litter. They always really enjoy it as well.’
Headteacher Kate Keller, said: ‘We are really pleased to win the award. We are very proud. We hope that it’s going to help the children learn about the importance of picking up litter in the community.
‘I think it’s just about getting the children on board in a fun way.
‘It’s about them having some responsibility. It’s their playground, it’s their school. We want them to be proud of it.
‘It always looks immaculate. They just love being the apprentice caretakers. It’s not a punishment, it’s a privilege.
Competition judges from the council and its highways contractor Colas take into account the tidiness of each school and its grounds, the commitment of the school, and how much children are involved in activities like litter picks.
Overall winner - St. John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary School
Infant category - Meon Infant School
Junior category - Stamshaw Junior School
Primary category - Westover Primary School
Senior category - Springfield School
Special needs category - Harbour School at Tipner
Independent category - Portsmouth High School (Junior)