THE future of the planet is safe in the hands of these “busy bees” who are flying the flag for the environment.

St Stephen’s CE Primary School, in Kearsley, has been given the Eco-Schools Green Flag award in recognition of the work it does every day to protect the environment while saving money.

Pupils have made simple changes, such as ensuring all unnecessary lights are switched off and that paper, cans and other materials are recycled.

This has cut bills as well as made their school one of the most sustainable in the country.

They have also transformed an overgrown part of school grounds into a eco-garden, complete with a bug hotel so children can learn about nature and sustainability.

Headteacher Tony Lasan said: “The award has been the culmination of more than five years’ hard work to transform the environment and raise awareness of a wide range of eco issues, which are now embedded in the whole school curriculum.”

The award is managed in England by Keep Britain Tidy, and Eco-Schools asks children to set up a committee involving pupils from all years.

They then set to work on an audit that highlights areas of the school which could be made more environmentally friendly.

The school’s eco-team, The Busy Bees, have been involved in initiatives designed to save energy, reduce litter, recycle food waste, attract wildlife and improve the appearance of the school with the development of an Eco Garden.

Children say they will fly the Green Flag with pride.

Maizy Lei Clarke, aged eight, said: “I remember the eco-garden when it was just weeds and bushes — now it is awesome.”

The school will celebrate its Green Flag status by holding an eco-garden open afternoon in the new academic year.

Research conducted by Keep Britain Tidy found that schools spend just under £1 million a year on electricity.

Energy-saving light bulbs last up to 10 times longer than ordinary ones and save between £5 and £10 per bulb per year.