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2. Environmental Review

Pupils writing down ideas

What is the Environmental Review?

  Please note:  From September 2012 we have introduced a new element into the Environmental Review. 

The Green Procurement section will ask you to look at the products and services you use in School and investigate their environmental impact.  From this you will be asked to develop a 'Green Procurement Policy' based upon your findings.  


The Green Procurement Policy is a mandatory requirement for all Eco-Schools from January 2013.

 

An Environmental Review is an audit of your school, covering the nine Eco-Schools topics in reasonable depth, plus a number of other areas. Your Environmental Review is designed to give a realistic picture of your school’s current environmental performance. It should tell you what you’re doing well and what you might need to work on.

The Environmental Review informs your Action Plan, helping your school to decide what changes are necessary and how urgently the changes are required.

This activity must be completed at least once every two years, but ideally should be completed every school year, to enable the Eco-Committee to do follow-up reviews to see the progress your school has made.

Who carries out the Environmental Review?

The Environmental Review must be carried out by the Eco-Committee. Eco-Schools provide a range of templates to download from our Programme Materials page. You can adapt these to suit the pupils of the Eco-Committee.

What should the Environmental Review include?

It must include all of the nine topics: Energy, Litter, Waste/Recycling, Water, Transport, Healthy Living, Biodiversity, School Grounds and Global Citizenship.  You should also answer questions on Green Procurement, and Pupil Participation (to demonstrate how the Environmental Review is discussed during assemblies/lessons/after school clubs). Some of these areas will need support from a teacher or senior member of staff.

It is up to a school whether they wish to design their own Environmental Review or download a review template from our Programme Materials area

There is also a very impressive Environmental Review template available from Lincolnshire County Council that you could download and use.

An Environmental Review should include a series of simple questions. Simple yes/no answers to each question may provide sufficient information but you may wish to use the Environmental Review to gain a greater understanding of the issues facing the school or include recommendations for action.

If you do wish to create your own Environmental Review, here is a list of suggested questions (remember that each area needs to be covered in reasonable depth):

Energy

  • Are the lights and whiteboards left on in the classrooms when people aren’t in them?
  • Are low-energy light bulbs and fluorescent tubes used in school?
  • Are computers turned off when not in use?
  • If it gets too hot in the classroom, is the heating thermostat turned down before opening a window?
  • Is there someone in your school who has special responsibility for monitoring the consumption of energy (electricity, heating etc.) in the school? And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Litter

  • Is there too much litter around the school grounds?
  • Are there enough bins inside and outside the school?
  • Does your school have a clear anti litter policy?
  • Is the amount of litter collected monitored and weighed?  And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Waste/Recycling

  • Is paper, inkjet cartridges, plastics, cardboard or other materials recycled?
  • Is your food waste composted?
  • Where possible, does the school buy paper, pens, pencils etc made from a recycled source?
  • Has the school considered buying school uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles? 
  • Is the reusing of materials e.g. Water bottles encouraged?
  • Is the amount of waste collected monitored and weighed?  And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Water

  • Is there a water meter to record water use in school?
  • Are there push-on or self stopping taps in the toilets?
  • Are there water saving devices in the toilets?
  • How often does the school run water-saving campaigns?
  • Are pupils involved in taking and displaying readings?  And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Transport

  • Does the school have dry and secure cycle storage?
  • Does the school organise regular ‘walk to school’ or ‘cycle to school’ events?
  • Does the school have a school travel plan?
  • Do you monitor how pupils travel to school? And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Healthy Living

  • Does the school provide and promote healthier food at break times and lunchtimes?
  • Is drinking water available in class?
  • Do the children take part in daily exercise?
  • Do you monitor whether children eat a balanced lunchtime diet over the week?  And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Biodiversity

  • Does the school have any plants in containers, pots or beds in the school grounds?
  • Does the school grounds have a wildlife or conservation area?
  • Do you monitor how many different types of wildlife visit your school grounds? And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

School Grounds

  • Are lessons or part of lessons ever held outside?
  • Does the school recycle garden or fruit/vegetable waste in a composter or wormery?
  • Are there seating areas in your play ground?
  • Is the amount of time spent outside in the playground doing curriculum activities monitored?   And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Global Citizenship

  • Do pupils consider how actions taken within the school affect people and the environment locally and globally?
  • Have the pupils considered other issues, such as Fair Trade?
  • Are the amount of Fair Trade products that the school uses monitored and evaluated?  And if so, are the results recorded on graphs and shared with the rest of the school?

Green Procurement

  • Does the school have a green procurement policy?
    (NB: There is a requirement to develop a green procurement policy from Jan 2013) 
  • Does school ensure that all products and services purchased have a minimal impact on the environment (i.e. Green Procurement)?
  • Does the school buy local products?
  • Does the school buy products that are recycled or that can be recycled?
  • Does the school buy products that use less chemicals?
  • Does the school buy products that are energy saving?

Pupil Participation

  • Do any environmental issues feature in school assemblies?
  • Are there special environment-related lessons or visits undertaken by classes?
  • Are pupils involved with local environmental projects outside school time?

How the Pod can help

Each of the activities on www.jointhepod.org incorporates a survey at both the beginning and the end. These can be used alongside the full Environmental Review to provide greater detail on actions that need to be undertaken.

Linking your Environmental Review to the curriculum

Whether you’re devising your own Environmental Review or using an off-the-peg form, there are many opportunities to link this activity with the curriculum, particularly with maths, science and IT.  Measuring, recording, estimating, displaying data, etc. can all be developed to meet national educational targets, as well as contributing to Eco-Schools.

Linking to the Eco-Schools award levels

At Bronze, Silver and Green Flag level: A school has to complete a formal review. This can be devised by the school but must cover all nine Eco-Schools topics. The results must also be documented.  An Environmental Review should be completed every twelve months by the Eco-Committee.

We've conducted our Environmental Review...what next?

Once the Eco-Committee has carried out an Environmental Review of the school, it is time to develop an Action Plan based on its findings.

Find out more about the Eco-Schools Action Plan.