Eco-Schools Scotland is a holistic programme which supports critical thinking and pupil engagement.

Through the Eco-Schools programme, sustainable development is becoming increasingly mainstreamed in the life of participating schools. For pupils involved in implementing the programme in their school, it provides knowledge, skills and motivation that is likely to stay with them in later life.

Whole School and Community Approach to Learning for Sustainability

To achieve your Green Flag, we need you to carry out a self-evaluation against Education Scotland's Learning for Sustainability criteria (Whole Schools and Community Approach to Learning for Sustainability). You may already have completed this evaluation as part of your School Improvement Plan. If you need to carry out this evaluation, please use these materials.  

Download the LfS Self-Evaluation Template and 

Download the LfS Self-Evaluation Guidance Document

Curricular Maps

We have developed a series of Outcome Maps for the first five levels to help link Eco-Schools to CfE.  We encourage adaptation, addition and development so that you can tailor them to the needs of your particular context. 

Early Level  First Level  Second Level  Third Level  Fourth Level

Using Eco-Schools Scotland for the Development of STEM Skills

The Eco-Schools Scotland programme is a great context for application and development of STEM skills.  This resource will support you to use the Eco-Schools Seven Element process as a vehicle to deliver Curriculum for Excellence’s experiences, outcomes and benchmarks.

Download the Eco-Schools STEM Guide

Learning for Sustainability

A whole school approach that enables the school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society.

Download - Conversations About Learning for Sustainability

Download - Learning for Sustainability - Report of the One Planet Schools Working Group

Download - Learning for Sustainability - Scottish Government's Response

GTCS Learning for Sustainability Microsite

This microsite from the GTCS aims to help educators and students to engage with Values and Learning for Sustainability. It can be used both by individuals or groups of colleagues to develop a shared understanding through reflection, discussion and action. 

Browse GTCS LfS Microsite

UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development

This website outlines the main objectives of the GAP and its implementation strategies including information on priority action areas,  as well as news and resources from UNESCO and its GAP key partners. Keep Scotland Beautiful supports the GAP for ESD through our membership with the Foundation for Environmental Education.

Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools - Mandarin & Learning For Sustainability

An award winning Confucius Institute working in partnership with Scotland's National Centre for Languages SCILT, Scottish Government and Hanban to promote Chinese language and culture in Primary and Secondary schools across Scotland. Resources include linking Mandarin to the Global Goals, nature, and the John Muir Award.

Download Resources

The Eco-Schools programme gives pupils of all ages the opportunity to take responsibility for practical activities to take action on environmental issues that matter to them.  Contributing to the Eco-Committee offers the opportunity to share and delegate tasks, and the confidence to make suggestions and come to decisions. 

Eco-Schools activities are community focused with global links. Everyone benefits from them and the outcomes are widely shared. Involvement in specific topics such as anti-littering campaigns, recycling and school grounds improvements heighten pupils’ awareness of personal responsibility towards the society in which they live and give them a sense of place.

As an Eco-School you will carry out a self-evaluation against Education Scotland's Learning for Sustainability criteria (Whole Schools and Community Approach to Learning for Sustainability). This enables schools to identify how the various elements of Learning for Sustainability are being integrated within their own school improvement planning.


Whole School

An Eco-Schools ‘ethos’ is one which permeates the day-to-day learning of the whole school, and involvement in the Eco-Schools programme provides an excellent vehicle for delivery of many aspects of Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence.

Activities undertaken as part of the delivery of the Seven Elements and the Ten Topics afford many opportunities to link to all eight curricular areas - as well as the Four Capacities - and inter-disciplinary themes such as Health & Well-being, Numeracy, Literacy, Enterprise, and Learning for Sustainability.

When linking the Eco-Schools programme to the formal curriculum, schools will identify areas of the curriculum which will enable young people to:

  • Achieve required learning outcomes.
  • Enhance their learning experience.
  • Develop informed attitudes.
  • Develop core skills.
  • Transfer skills across curricular areas.

Integration of Eco-Schools activities into the curriculum does not have to be onerous. It can vary from a short reference when a curriculum topic warrants it, to full-scale linking so that Eco-Schools activities fully cover particular curricular experiences and outcomes.

Linking to the curriculum should:

  • Help to achieve required learning outcomes.
  • Enhance pupils' learning experience.
  • Support the Four Capacities of CfE.
  • Help pupils develop informed attitudes.
  • Develop core skills.
  • Transfer skills across curricular areas.
  • Enrich the curriculum with opportunities for practical learning.
  • Highlight opportunities for Green Careers.

The principles contained within Taking Learning Outdoors – Partnerships in Excellence (LTS 2007) underline the many benefits of activities within Eco-Schools. The opportunity to learn more about their own environment within the school grounds, and further opportunities to suggest improvements and take part in implementing these improvements, provide young people with real life experiences in investigating, problem solving, and decision-making.

“Eco-Schools connects over 15 million children, young people and educators through sustainable development education and is the biggest formal learning network in the world – with young people from 64 countries involved.  It is wonderful that Scotland has achieved 2000 Green Flag Awards. It stands as proof for the huge possibilities that can be attained when civil society and government work hand in hand to reach common goals based on positive actions.” 

Daniel Schaffer, CEO of Foundation for Environment

Early Years

Early Years establishments have always used the environment both as a place of learning and a resource for learning. They have long recognised the need for young people to be outdoors and opportunities for learning in the process.

Drawing these opportunities under the discipline of Eco-Schools gives young people a target to aim for and a sense of achievement. Achievements within Eco-Schools can easily be demonstrated to parents and visitors, and even the youngest child is eager to describe, demonstrate and discuss progress.

"[Eco-Schools] has benefitted us greatly in many ways: we are more confident in taking projects forward as there is always support. We are a very outdoor nursery but Eco-Schools is developing in the next generation of all children, a very healthy respect and understanding of the environmental impact of how we live, what we use, how we use it and how to recycle and save our planets natural resources, animals and habitats at a very young age and stage of development”.

Cumbernauld College Nursery - March 2011

Primary Schools

Eco-Schools is infinitely adaptable to your own context and develops Global Citizenship skills to support pupils development as Life Long Learners. Primary schools find the Eco-Schools framework fosters connections between the various elements of Learning for Sustainability.

“Eco-Schools has provided an opportunity for children to be involved in worthwhile projects in which they have a direct say and contribution. They have a strong pupil voice and being part of the Eco-Committee can help to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence, as they carry out research, report back to their peers, organise ideas and information and communicate to a wider audience”. 

Cambusbarron Primary School - September 2013


A Curricular Audit is requirement at Green Flag Award level for all secondary schools and schools with secondary departments. This provides schools with an opportunity to investigate – and celebrate – the curricular links that are already being made between ‘day-to-day’ learning and ‘sustainable development’ themes, as well as identify areas where links could still be implemented.

Eco-Schools provides a framework which secondary schools can use to support interdisciplinary learning, planning for choices and change as well as supporting the development of critical thinking skills and student leadership.

Participation in Eco-Schools activities can often foster an interest in and knowledge of sustainable development issues that can, in time, lead to a greater awareness of ‘green’ careers. As result a thriving Eco-Schools programme can support Developing the Young Workforce initiatives within a secondary school.

“The Eco-Schools programme has brought a wide range of benefits for Mearns Castle. For example, for those pupils directly involved on the Eco-Committee and in the broader eco group it has given them valuable opportunities to develop their capabilities as successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors. Through giving pupils lead roles in taking forward eco projects they have had to speak at conferences, write articles/letters and persuade staff in the school and from other businesses/agencies to support their plans”.

Mearns Castle High School - June 2012

ASN schools

Eco-Schools is an adaptable framework which is successfully used within many of Scotland’s ASN schools. As a whole school programme equality, inclusion and participation are encouraged through the opportunities that Eco-Schools provides. Pupils are empowered to be global citizens actively making decisions which can shape their own community.

The framework supports schools to bring together curriculum and life skills whilst developing confidence and providing opportunities for pupils to learn in a variety of contexts.

“The experience of Eco-Schools has benefited our school and pupils by instilling a sense of confidence and purpose. Pupils have reached a great understanding of the importance of promoting and sustaining a litter free environment. They are also gaining understanding of wider Eco issues”.

Firpark School - June 2005

Linking to the Curriculum Case Studies

High School of Glasgow - Eco Rap Project

First year pupils at High School of Glasgow wrote this brilliant Eco Rap as part of an activities week on water. They also played a role-playing game looking at the difficulty of getting water in some parts of the world, as well as science lessons on the problem of ocean acidification. An excellent way to link Eco-Schools work with the curriculum in music, sciences, and creative writing.  Shared with kind permission from High School of Glasgow. 

Download High School of Glasgow's Rap

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