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Green Flag Award

The Green Flag Award is a visible indication of your school's commitment to Learning for Sustainability and an internationally recognised accreditation for excellence in sustainable education.

Seven Elements

The Green Flag Award is based on the Seven Elements, the core of the Eco-Schools programme in every participating country.

We use an online application system, known as the Green Flag Journey, to help you to achieve your Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Journey ensures that you provide sufficient evidence for each of the Seven Elements and can achieve you Green Flag Award. Each Element builds the framework of our Award Criteria.

Ten Topics

On your Green Flag Journey you choose to work on three of the Ten Topics.

Litter is a mandatory topic and all applications must include at least three actions per topic. The other topics that can be selected are;

Biodiversity | Energy | Food and the Environment | Global Citizenship | Health and Wellbeing | School Grounds | Transport | Waste Minimisation | Water

As Eco-Schools is a pupil-led programme, each topic is chosen by the Eco-Committee.

Sustainable Development Goals

Through Eco-Schools Scotland, we would like you to join with the rest of the world in working towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and we know that young people in Scottish schools can help make this happen!

During the Green Flag Journey, each applicant chooses a Sustainable Development Goal as their overarching theme for the application. Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals and the role they play by clicking below.

Green Flag Award Criteria

Eco-Schools is a flexible and adaptable programme, therefore the Award Criteria should be adapted as necessary for each establishment's individual context. The Award Criteria are based on the Seven Elements as each Green Flag Application is required to demonstrate aspects of each element.

Read through the Green Flag Award Criteria below or alternatively, click the button to download the document.

Eco-Committee | Award Criteria

  • Your Eco-Committee should be pupil-led as much as possible.
  • All pupils have the opportunity to be involved in the process of forming your Eco-Committee.
  • All age groups should be represented on your Eco-Committee.
  • Your Eco-Committee meets at least once every half term.
  • Records are kept by Eco-Committee members of meetings showing how decisions have been made.
  • Records of meetings are displayed on an Eco-Schools notice board and communicated to the wider community.
  • A whole establishment approach to Learning for Sustainability is enabled by all pupils contributing their ideas whether they are an Eco-Committee member or not.

Environmental Review | Award Criteria

  • The Environmental Review is carried out by your Eco-Committee. You can use our template if you like.
  • Carry out your Environmental Review at the start of each Green Flag Journey.
  • The results of your Environmental Review are shared with the rest of your establishment.

Action Plan | Award Criteria

  • Your Action Plan is a working document and should be included in the school improvement plan.
  • Your Action Plan will cover one year for a First Green Flag Award and two years for a Green Flag Renewal.
  • All pupils can submit suggestions for action to the Eco-Committee.
  • Your Action Plan addresses our Core Eco-Schools Topic (Litter) and two other chosen topics.
  • Choose one UN Sustainable Development goal to tie together your actions for our Core Topic (Litter) and your two other chosen topics where possible.
  • Your Action Plan must include a community Clean Up every year. You can link this Clean Up to any one of the Ten Topics.
  • Pupils on your Eco-Committee take responsibility for leading some action areas.
  • Your Action Plan must include timescales and details of how progress of an action area will be measured and evaluated.
  • It may be useful to adapt this to be displayed on the school’s Eco-Schools noticeboard in a clear, pupil-friendly format.

Measuring | Award Criteria

  • Your Eco-Committee ensures that evaluation of action is ongoing and appropriate to the activity.
  • You will need one example of Measuring for our Core Topic (Litter) and your chosen two topics.
  • All pupils and staff are updated and given the opportunity to discuss and debate progress.
  • Your Eco-Committee builds on successes and decides what to do when activities are not successful.
  • Measuring is an opportunity to develop skills from across the curriculum. For example, STEM, Developing the Young Workforce, Numeracy.

Curriculum | Award Criteria

  • Aspects of your Eco-Schools activities are integrated into a range of subjects across the curriculum for the majority of classes or year groups.
  • You will need to describe an example of how you have linked your Eco-Schools work to the Curriculum as part of your application.

Community | Award Criteria

  • Your Eco-Schools activities are displayed on your Eco-Schools noticeboard.
  • Your Eco-Schools activities are shared with the wider community. For example; displays, social media, website, newsletter, local press.
  • The wider community is involved in the activities going on in the school where possible. For example; partnerships with other schools, local businesses, charities or other community organisations.

Eco-Code | Award Criteria

  • Your Eco-Code represents ideas from across the whole establishment.
  • Your Eco-Code is displayed on your Eco-Schools noticeboard and shared with the wider school community.
  • Your Eco-Code is reviewed regularly to make sure it remains relevant.

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