The Eco Schools Programme
The Eco-Schools Programme
Eco-Schools is an environmental schools programme that spans 64 different countries. The programme began in 1994 and is operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education. 16 million children worldwide now attend an ‘Eco-School’.
The charity ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ oversees the programme in England, and more than 17,000 schools are registered.
What is the programme?
The programme covers 9 topics; biodiversity, energy, litter, global citizenship, healthy living, school grounds, transport, waste, and water. The programme is pupil-led and encourages everyone to be involved, as well as the local community that the school serves. Because the programme is interactive, and is combined with learning, it’s a more engaging way to teach pupils about the environment around them. If schools implement the suggested steps to becoming more sustainable, they can also save money, in what they pay for waste disposal, for example.
Becoming an Eco-School
A school can become an Eco-School by following a simple 7 step process, which will give them the ‘Green Flag’, and Eco-School status. A school should meet the following criteria to be awarded a Green Flag:
The programme must be pupil-led
It must involve hands-on learning
The whole school and the wider local community should be involved
The school should have an eco-committee of pupils across all age groups to do an environmental review of the school.
An action plan should be made, which covers 3 Eco-Schools topics. The results of the actions taken should then be monitored and assessed.
The eco work should be linked to the curriculum.
Every school should have an ‘Eco Code’. This should state what is expected of everyone, and it should be displayed in every classroom.
Small steps towards Eco-School status
Schools can achieve Bronze Awards and Silver Awards on their way to earning the Green Flag. This is achieved by the school carrying out a self-assessment in recognition of work that they have already done while working towards the Eco-School status. These steps help schools to stay on target.
Litter is an easy way to show pupils how behavior can impact upon the environment. It’s also easy to do something about the litter in the immediate environment. Schools can organize litter pick projects to get everyone involved in tackling litter. To measure how effective their project has been, pupils can count the amount of litter picked and the number of items collected, and do this at regular intervals.
Schools can sign up to the Great British Spring Clean which runs from the 3rd-5th March. Schools can register litter picking events and other initiatives.