What is Eco-Schools ?
Most young people care deeply about environmental issues. They want to help, but knowing what to do is not always easy. Eco-Schools could be the answer.
The Eco-Schools programme is an international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the environment. It is a recognised award scheme that accredits schools who make a commitment to continuously improve their environmental performance. It is also a learning resource that raises awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues throughout activities linked to curricular areas. The Eco-Schools programme plays a key role in international and national policy regarding Sustainable Development Education.
The aim of the Eco-Schools programme is to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the school for both pupils and for staff, and to engage the wider community.
The Eco-Schools programme can help schools to:
- Improve the school's environment
- Reduce litter and waste
- Reduce energy and water use
- Devise efficient was of travelling to and from school
- Promote healthy lifestyles
- Encourage active citizenship
- Build strong partnerships with a variety of community groups
- Develop international and global links
Eco-Schools Scotland is administered in Scotland by Keep Scotland Beautiful. Keep Scotland Beautiful is a registered Scottish Charity, number SC030332.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin
It was at the UN Conference on Environment & Development (Rio Earth Summit) in 1992 that a need to involve young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges at a local level,was identified.
As a result, the Eco-Schools programme was developed in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education(FEE) and introduced into the UK, including Scotland, in 1995.
There are now 53 countries across the world involved in the Eco-Schools programme. The United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) is also very supportive of the programme and is an institutional partner of FEE, as is the Scottish Government.
What's in it for schools?
Recognition and publicity
The Eco-Schools programme leads to the prestigious international environmental award - the Green Flag. It shows that a school is committed to the highest standards in environmental education and management – something to celebrate and be proud of.
Money and savings
The programme provides guidance about saving energy, reducing waste, and implementing recycling schemes; all of which can add up to direct and long-term savings for schools.
Links to the curriculum
Managing a school’s environmental performance requires knowledge and skills that relate directly to Scottish curricular requirements for ages 3 to 18. Involvement in the programme provides numerous opportunities to enhance the delivery of all eight curricular areas and can be a sound vehicle for the delivery of inter-disciplinary learning. There are well-developed and obvious synergies with other initiatives such as Rights Respecting Schools, John Muir Award, Forest Schools, Fairtrade Schools, etc. and Eco-Schools can be a key vehicle for Developing Global Citizenship initiatives. Involvement in the programme will also highlight links to How Good is Our School, and opportunities for individual recognition are available through the Eco-Schools Dynamic Youth Award.
Scottish Ministers are keen to see a continued growth in the number of Green Flag-awarded schools, and especially an update in the programme by secondary schools. Local authorities must report on "the number/ percentage of primary and secondary schools within their area that are participating in the Eco-Schools award or similar accredited environmental award".
Each authority will make schools aware of the local strategy being put in place to progress this measure.