Eco-Schools Green Flag & Other Awards

An international accreditation which has recognised and rewarded young people’s environmental actions for over 25 years.

When to apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag

Is your hard-work ready to be rewarded?

Applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag is the perfect way to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the ecological achievements of young people. It clearly demonstrates that their hard work is appreciated and it provides them with the confidence and motivation to continue actively engaging with environmental issues now and throughout their lifetimes. It creates the next generation of innovative, inspirational environmentalists and tells local communities that a school, college or nursery is forward-thinking and actively engaged in protecting our planet.

Eco-Coordinators and their Eco-Committees are ready to apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag after working through each of the Eco-Schools Seven Steps, which usually takes around one academic year (although some are able to complete the process more quickly). It is important to reemphasise that institutions are ready to apply when they have worked through each of the Eco-Schools Seven Steps – this is what the Green Flag assessment process measures and recognises. It demonstrates a confidence in the Seven Step process: that it can deliver impactful environmental actions now and inspire behaviour change and environmental action throughout a lifetime.

As an Eco-Schools Green Flag rewards and acknowledges schools who have completed the Seven Step process, some Eco-Schools Action Plans or projects might not be entirely complete by the time a school applies for Green Flag accreditation. The programme and its criteria is flexible enough to recognise this – especially as some Eco-Committees plan ambitious projects that may span years (or several Eco-Schools Green Flag applications)! It also allows our assessment process to focus and celebrate the changes that have been made instead of focusing on changes that haven’t been made (yet)!

Applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag: Online Application Form

Demystifying the online application process.

To apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag, you will first have to log on to your Eco-Schools account by clicking ‘Login’ at the top, or bottom, of this website. You will then be able to access the Green Flag Application Form, providing you have already completed the Bronze and Silver self-assessments (see below for further details). The Green Flag application form is simple and quick to complete, it should take no longer than thirty minutes and can even be completed with the young people on your Eco-Committee. The Eco-Schools team always recommends saving your progress regularly using the button at the bottom of the form to avoid progress being lost. Below is a brief description of what the online application asks. You can also find a more detailed explanation of the online application process by clicking on the relevant pathway above, Seven Steps and then Green Flag Assessment.

The online application asks that you upload:

  • Your completed Environmental Review
  • Your Action Plan
  • A clear photo of your Eco-Board

And you will also be asked to complete:

  • Three brief examples of the curriculum work your school has completed that links to any of the ten Eco-Schools topics.
  • A brief description of how you have monitored and communicated your topic actions.
  • Tick box and simple questions relating to your Eco-Schools topic actions.

Applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag: Assessment Visit

Due to the COVID pandemic for the foreseeable future we will be rewarding Eco-Schools Green Flags based solely on a school, college or nurseries’ online application form.

Renewing an Eco-Schools Green Flag

Why, and how often, we ask schools to renew their Eco-Schools Green Flags.

Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation is valid for two years, from the date the Green Flag is achieved. We ask schools to renew their Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation because:

  • Environmental action should be ongoing, this approach helps to maintain momentum whilst embedding and expanding on environmental action and learning in schools, nurseries and colleges.
  • It allows more young people to benefit from the Eco-Schools experience and gain recognition and confidence from achieving internationally-recognised Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation.
  • Environmental issues are constantly changing and evolving, renewing Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation allows schools to work on different topics and new cohorts of pupils to plan innovative new projects.

The main difference for schools renewing their Green Flag accreditation is that they are now expected to work on five Eco-Schools topics. Essentially this means continuing to work on three topics from their previous Green Flag Award and supplementing these topics with actions for two additional topics.

Sometimes, uncontrollable circumstances mean a school can’t renew their Green Flag award within the two year deadline. If this is the case please get in touch with the Eco-Schools team, who will discuss available options.

Eco-Schools Green Flag Cost and Further Details

Details on flying a Green Flag and the cost of Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation.

It is free to register with the Eco-Schools programme, however, should a school choose to apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag Award we then ask schools to pay £200 (+VAT) following a successful Green Flag Assessment. Eco-Schools is a charity and this payment covers the cost of: Green Flag assessment; a school’s Green Flag and certificate (including P&P); and programme administration costs. In essence this payment means the Eco-Schools programme can continue operating in England: recognising the fantastic environmental actions of young people throughout the country and helping the Eco-Schools team engage new schools in environmental action and education.

Following a successful Green Flag assessment, schools will receive an invoice for £200 (+VAT), and upon receipt of payment, the award pack including the Eco-Schools Green Flag, certificate and assessment feedback letter will be sent to the school.

As mentioned above, and in response to a common question the Eco-Schools team are asked: Yes, schools do receive an actual flag, made from recycled plastic bottles when they achieve our Eco-Schools Green Flag award! The flag can be seen in the banner image above and it measures 100x150cm. It is then up to a school to decide where they place their flag. Many schools choose to erect a flagpole, and you can find government advice on flying flags here. Eco-Schools is mentioned on page 2 of the document ‘Flying Flags: a Plain English Guide.’ Essentially, our flag does not require consent to fly providing schools comply with certain restrictions. Other schools choose to hang them in school canteens, entrance halls or even above their Eco-Board – it is entirely up to each school.

Eco-Schools Bronze and Silver Awards

Stepping stones on the way to Eco-Schools Green Flag.

It usually takes around one academic year for a school to achieve an Eco-Schools Green Flag award. This may seem quite a long time (especially for younger Eco-Committee members) therefore, on the path to Eco-Schools Green Flag, the Eco-Schools team have added two additional milestones in the form of our Bronze and Silver Awards. These awards are designed to boost morale and help Eco-Committees maintain momentum, whilst they work through the Seven Steps. Both awards are free, self-assessed and take only moments to apply for by answering a series of simple tick-box questions.

Schools apply for our Bronze Award when they have completed steps 1-3 by:

  • Forming an Eco-Committee
  • Completing the Eco-Schools Environmental Review
  • Creating (not completing) an Action Plan

By the time schools apply for and achieve our Bronze Award, they are around 50% of the way to Eco-Schools Green Flag: beginning the Eco-Schools programme is often the most difficult and labour-intensive part!

Schools then apply for Silver Award when they have completed steps 4-5 by:

  • Finding three examples of learning linked to environmental issues.
  • Setting up an Eco-Board and involving their school community in at least one Eco-Schools action or project.

By the time a school has achieved their Silver Award they are around 80% of the way to Eco-Schools Green Flag – don’t stop now you’re nearly there!

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