What is Eco-Schools?
Eco-Schools is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world, operated internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and which we manage in Scotland. The programme connects 19.5 million children, young people and educators through sustainable development education with 67 countries on all five continents participating.
Eco-Schools has common structural features across all operating countries. The Seven Elements, the Eco-Schools Topics, and Assessment for the Green Flag. The Seven Elements are the same in every country, although they may have slightly different names. Eco-Schools Topic themes vary across different operating countries.
Eco-Schools in Scotland
The Eco-Schools Scotland programme is made up of a set of Seven Elements that are used to plan action on environmental issues and that form the criteria for the Green Flag Award. To earn a Green Flag Award, your school needs to follow the Seven Elements, ensuring that Eco-Schools is pupil-led, linked to the curriculum and involves the whole school and wider community.
Eco-Schools Scotland is designed to encourage whole-school community action on Learning for Sustainability. The programme encourages young people to engage in their environment by allowing them the opportunity to actively protect it. The programme starts in the classroom and expands to the whole school, eventually fostering change in the community at large.
We are grateful for the continued support of the Scottish Government in funding the programme.
How Eco-Schools Scotland works
The first step is to form an Eco-Committee to represent the ideas of the whole school. The Eco-Committee then completes an Environmental Review, to investigate the current situation in the school. The results of the Environmental Review are used to create an Action Plan of planned projects on litter and two other topics. Eco-Schools Scotland has Ten Topics to choose from. The Action Plan will include ways of measuring the progress of projects, and ideas for future development.
Projects should be linked to the curriculum with the whole school and wider community given the opportunity to be involved. Finally, the whole school should create an Eco-Code representing their commitment to environmental issues.
This work is recognised by the Green Flag Award - a visible indication of your school's commitment to learning for sustainability, and an internationally recognised accreditation for excellence in sustainable development education. The Green Flag Award is renewed every two years following the same Seven Elements.
Eco-Schools Scotland has linked the programme to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and you will be asked to select a goal to connect to your three topics. You can read more about the Sustainable Development Goals here.
Eco-Schools Scotland has a new online application system, which allows you and your school to input information throughout your two year Green Flag journey and be provided with feedback at key points in the process.
About Eco-Schools Scotland
Eco-Schools is flexible, designed to be accessible to every pupil and to fit every establishment.
Green Flag Award Criteria
To earn a Green Flag Award, your school needs to follow the Seven Elements, ensuring that Eco-Schools is pupil-led, linked to the curriculum and involves the whole school and wider community.
What does the Eco-Schools logo mean?
In 1994, FEE France, one of the first Eco-Schools programs, organised a competition in a school of graphic arts to create a logo for an environmental program related to school and based on the active participation of students. The winning design became the logo for the Eco-Schools program worldwide.
A lot of meaning is packed into this image:
- People are the basis and centre of the program. In our hands lies the greening of our future, which is symbolised by the flower flourishing above the head of the central person
- The flowers symbolise both the flourishing of the environment that we can promote, and the flourishing of human beings who will be enriched by developing values and attitudes that protect our environment and ourselves.
- Once this bouquet of green flowers is open over our heads, it turns into a kind of umbrella, a shelter that protects us.
- The book is associated with school and knowledge, but the two separate pages (with the person in the middle) mean that this knowledge is not purely academic. Books only contribute to the change in behaviours, while teaching/learning and people are central.
- The blue page on the left represents the book of human history, loaded and heavy with the problems of society we are facing and inheriting. This part of the book is already written.
- The white page on the right is not yet written. It represents everything that can be done – and we alone decide what our future will be.