The Eco-Schools programme is intentionally flexible, providing a platform for all young people to engage with environmentalism.
Special educational needs and disabilities can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. It can affect their behaviour, reading, writing, understanding, concentration or physical abilities. However, the Eco-Schools team never want additional needs or disabilities to affect young people’s ability to engage with environmental actions and be rewarded for their engagement with an Eco-Schools Green Flag. We want the Eco-Schools programme to provide an accessible way for all young people to have a positive impact on the planet we inhabit, and we are proud to have multiple specialist settings currently flying an Eco-Schools Green Flag.
Everyone who works in education will be aware that the term SEND is incredibly broad, it covers millions of young people, each one entirely unique. It would be difficult and unfair to ask these individuals to work towards a different set of criteria from other young people also working on the Eco-Schools programme. Instead, we are incredibly flexible with the delivery of the programme and adherence to our Seven Step criteria, after all, teachers and staff members know their students best. If you work in a specialist school and have pupils capable of leading the programme and meeting the criteria for each of the Seven Steps independently – that’s great! If it is more realistic to involve pupils whilst allowing an adult to lead the programme – that’s also great! If you are somewhere in between both approaches – that’s great too! In short, do what is right for your school and its pupils, use the Eco-Schools programme as a tool for your school to engage young people in environmental actions and the Eco-Schools team will be delighted to recognise and reward your achievements – fit the programme into your school, do not try to fit your school into the programme!
Schools registered as specialist on our system are given access to all of our resources for Early Years, Primary and Secondary when they login. This, like mentioned above, is to help Eco-Coordinators plot the best path to Eco-Schools Green Flag based on the needs and abilities of their pupils. The idea is to use the ones that are most appropriate to your setting. Like with our criteria, you are entirely free to mix and match these resources to suit your needs. We are also more than happy for any of our resources to be adapted to suit the needs of the pupils on your Eco-Committee and in your school… and if you would like to share adapted resources, advice or project ideas with the Eco-Schools team, they would undoubtedly be useful to other Eco-Coordinators working in similar settings.
Finally a note on the Eco-Schools Green Flag assessment process. Our team is always supportive. We understand that each school is different and all schools face different and unique challenges. This is at the forefront of our minds when assessing each Green Flag application but particularly those from specialist schools. We want the Eco-Schools programme to be of maximum benefit to young people involved in it. If this means a specialist school has adapted various aspects of the Eco-Schools programme and Seven Step criteria, then that is exactly what we want to happen. We will be delighted to accredit you and your Eco-Committees hard-work with an Eco-Schools Green Flag.
If you still have questions about delivering the Eco-Schools programme in a specialist school, please do not hesitate to get in touch for advice and support.