2000th Eco-Schools Scotland flag awarded

Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP has today presented St Johns RC Academy in Perth with Scotland's 2,000th Green Flag - the top award of the Eco-Schools programme.

We are also celebrating Scotland becoming one of the first country's worldwide to award 2,000 Eco-Schools Green Flags in the largest global sustainable schools programme.

For more than two decades we have managed the international Eco-Schools programme in Scotland, engaging with 98.5% of our schools.  And Scotland has achieved a number of firsts under the sustainability programme, being the first country to include fully integrated Learning for Sustainability into the curriculum and linking the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the Eco-Schools programme.

Education for sustainable development is a priority within Scottish education as an entitlement for all young people through Learning for Sustainability.  Eco-Schools Scotland supports this by encouraging whole-school community action on sustainable development education issues.

Making the presentation, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “I am delighted to present St John’s Academy with its Green Flag and congratulate all of the pupils and school staff on becoming our 2000th Eco School, making Scotland an international leader through all their hard work.

“It is especially impressive when you learn about how the Eco Group built up its numbers, encouraging children from nursery through to secondary, as well as school staff, to think more about their impact on the environment and how they could make positive changes within their school.”

Bruce Robertson, our Charity Trustee said: “For more than two decades we have committed to supporting our children to develop an understanding of the global and local environmental issues they face now, and in the future. It is thanks to the work of our educators, and the commitment of our young people, such as those at St John’s RC Academy that more than a million young people have benefited from environmental learning through Eco-Schools Scotland.

“Awarding 2,000 flags is a significant achievement and testament to the success of the programme and we’re thrilled Scotland is the first country worldwide to reach this impressive milestone.  Achieving a Green Flag is not easy because a school has to demonstrate that it has the correct ethos across everything it does to enable its young learners to understand what their part is in a sustainable global future.

“We are particularly grateful to the Scottish Government for their funding of this activity and look forward to launching a refresh of the programme later this year.  Through the Eco-Schools Scotland programme we will continue to support national objectives such as the Curriculum for Excellence and closing the attainment gap, and international aims including the delivery of the UN Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development.”

Daniel Schaffer, CEO of Foundation for Environmental Education said: “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 this milestone, the first in the world. 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.”

Sean Hagney, Head Teacher at St John's RC Academy commented: "St John's RC Academy is delighted to receive our Green Flag - the 2,000th in Scotland and our first as an all-through school.  Our Eco-group grew out of our primary into both the nursery and the secondary, with some pupils being active Eco members for many years.  This award recognises our commitment to sustainable education over many years and I congratulate the pupils, parents and staff of the nursery, primary and secondary on this achievement, as well as our wider community partners.  It recognises the huge variety of learning which takes place in school to help make our world a better place for now and into the future, from planting vegetables in our community garden, to upcycling and recycling waste, to being a Fairtrade and Rights Respecting School."

Since its roll-out 21 years ago, Scotland is now widely regarded as a world leader in delivering the programme.  This was recognised by the presentation of an award from the Foundation of Environmental Education, which runs the programme across the world, in February last year for world-leading commitment to environmental education by the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

16 March 2017

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