How To Guide

This How to Guide contains all the information you need to complete your LEAF award. Here you will find templates, ideas and examples to help you complete each step of your LEAF award.

Our handbook contains all the information from our online How to Guide in a handy downloadable format:

LEAF Handbook

View our Tree of Learning curricular maps to help you link your LEAF activities to the curriculum: Early Level, First Level, Second Level, Third Level, Fourth Level

Taking part and registration:

Complete our registration form to sign up. LEAF is an annual programme following the school year. You need to register by the beginning of October to take part in this year’s programme.

Once you have registered, please complete our initial LEAF coordinator survey. This must be completed by 16th October for you to be fully registered for the Award.

LEAF programme outline

LEAF is an annual award, following the academic year. The steps of the programme are as follows:

  1. Register as a LEAF establishment and complete our LEAF coordinator survey.
    • You need at least one staff member to act as LEAF coordinator for your establishment.
  2. Work through the steps of the Forest Cycle.
    • You must submit a draft Action Plan by 30th November.
  3. Complete and submit your award application by 31st July.
    • You can count your LEAF award towards an Eco-Schools application.
  4. Receive your LEAF Award.
    • You can take part in our celebration showcase on Monday 10th June.
  5. Start new Forest Cycle in the new school year.

Completing a LEAF Award

To achieve a LEAF award, you will need to complete all six parts of the Forest Cycle over the course of an academic year. There is a lot of flexibility in how you meet the requirements of the award.

Watch our information session for educators for a full understanding of LEAF. Further information, examples and templates can be found in the rest of this How To Guide.

If you are unsure about how to cover any aspect of the award, please contact us: leaf@keepscotlandbeautiful.org.


To complete the Forest Cycle and be granted a LEAF award, we would expect to see fulfillment of the LEAF aims:

  • Increased opportunities for pupils to connect with nature.
    • This can be in any greenspace you have access to.
  • Progress in learning taking place outdoors.
    • This can be within or outside your school grounds.
  • Learning about, protecting and restoring forest-based ecosystems.
    • This includes tree-based ecosystems in urban and rural environments, marine forests and micro-forests (moss and lichen).

More details of how to do fulfill the LEAF aims can be found in the Action Plan section of this How to Guide.

Relationship to Eco-Schools

LEAF can be completed as a standalone award, or as part of an Eco-Schools Green Flag award. If you are using LEAF as part of your Eco-Schools application, LEAF can be counted as up to three actions (one topic).

Training and Support

We have a series of group meetings to support your completion of the LEAF Award.

Please visit our Training Page to see details of the meetings and to register to attend. All meetings take place at 4pm and are recorded for those who are not able to make it on the day.

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