The annual Redmaids’ High Founders’ Commemoration Day parade has added significance this year with students and staff wearing green ribbons as a visible display of the commitment to tackling the world’s climate change crisis

 Every year, the oldest surviving girls’ school in the country – established in 1634 – remembers its founders in a mid-November parade from Bristol Bridge, ending with a service at Bristol Cathedral. 

 The school recognises the need to educate the next generation about the climate change threat and has committed to take steps itself as an organisation and employer to reduce unnecessary consumption. 

 The school’s Senior ‘Green Team’ spanning Years 7-13 is now implementing ideas at the school in Westbury-on-Trym, including: 
• meat-free Monday lunches 
• increased recycling of paper, plastics, cans, and pens 
• regular clothes swaps 
• the introduction of a bee colony
• better general management of all waste. 

 The parade, taking place on Friday 15 November, will see around 770 girls – aged 7 to 18 – flanked by teachers and support staff, wearing green ribbons made from unused, leftover fabric in the school’s Design Technology department. 

 Isabel Tobias, the school’s Headmistress, said: “This annual event is of huge significance to Redmaids’ High. While we look back and honour those who made our school possible, we also look to the future so it is a perfect opportunity to openly demonstrate our support for action to reduce climate change. 

 “The ribbons idea came from discussions with staff and students and is one I am sure our founders would support,” Mrs Tobias added. 

After the parade, the material will be collected in and repurposed into an art installation that will go on display at Redmaids’ High. 

Mrs Tobias continued: “We have not bought anything new for this initiative and we don’t want to create further unnecessary waste, so are using the fabric creatively afterwards for an art project. 

“I am extremely proud of the mature, thoughtful and practical way our students are responding to the challenge of climate change and I hope that Bristol will be inspired by their example,” she added. 

Earlier this year, Redmaids’ High received a Bronze Eco-Schools Award in recognition of the first phase of sustainability measures that were introduced by the school’s Sixth Form Environment Captains in 2018. 

Its students also recently took part along with several other Bristol schools in a city-wide, Bristol Education Partnership initiative to investigate ways of reducing carbon emissions and protecting wildlife. 

Lucie Jones, one of Redmaids’ High’s Environment Captains, said: “We have a real responsibility as students to ensure that all young people understand the challenges facing the environment, and take individual action themselves to help protect our planet.”