COVID RESPONSE: Green Flag Criteria
Step One: Eco-Committee
- Your Eco-Committee can now be formed from one year group or bubble.
- The Eco-Schools team understand that parents or other adult representatives on the Eco-Committee may not currently be able to attend Eco-Committee meetings.
- Eco-Committee meetings can be held virtually via Teams, Zoom or Google Meets.
- When your Eco-Committee members are finalised, please make sure the rest of your school know who is on the Eco-Committee in a way that is safe to do so (newsletter, Eco-Board etc).
- Remember to invite all the young people and school staff who helped out with your eco-actions during lockdown on to your Eco-Committee as honorary guests!
IDEA: Each year group or bubble could be assigned a different Eco-Schools topic action that they work on in their classroom or section of school grounds. A ‘Bubble Eco-Rep’ is elected to send a short report to the Eco-Coordinator every month on their progress which is collated in a monthly termly newsletter so the whole school can compare their actions and results.
Step Two: Environmental Review
- This can now be carried out by one year group or bubble.
- Please ensure sure the rest of the school know the results of your Environmental Review.
Step Three: Action Plan
- This is a working document, as the situation changes nationally or in your school, please do not worry if you have to re-think plans over the course of the year due to changes in school restrictions.
- You will still need to work on three topics for 1st Green Flag and five topics for Green Flag renewals.
- Remember that not all actions need to have been completed in order to apply for your Eco-Schools Green Flag, we would just expect to see that implementation has begun.
- No eco-action is too small! If your grand plans have been cut back due to restrictions that is not a problem as long as you can undertake at least one action for each of the three or five Eco-Schools topics you have chosen.
IDEA: Try asking every year group or bubble to work on the same action for a term and see who is the best! Hold competitions to see which year group or bubble has the least plastic in lunch boxes, which used the least paper, which spent most time taking part in out door lessons or even who grew the most potatoes! Your revised Eco-Schools Action plan may become a great way to get all groups and bubbles working together whilst still safely distancing.
Step Four: Curriculum Links
- No change, three examples from across different curriculum areas or year groups are still required.
Step Five: Informing and Involving
- If your Eco-Board has been removed due to school deep cleaning then you will be able to upload all the information you wished to display on your online Green Flag application.
- During this time, it might be difficult for actions to involve the whole school and wider community, the Eco-Schools team understands this and will accept evidence of actions involving only parts of a school.
- During lockdown we heard lots of amazing stories about how the children of key workers and other staff had helped out with planned Eco-Schools actions whilst Eco-Coordinators and existing Eco-Committee members may have been working or schooled from home. Think about how you can continue to keep these new people involved, their great work does not need to stop.
- If you set eco-actions such as our #EcoSchoolsAtHome tasks to be carried during lockdown, please include these as evidence towards your Eco-Schools Green Flag.
Step Six: Monitoring and Evaluation
- This particular step has always been about reviewing and adapting, never has this been truer. Did your indoor plants wilt during lockdown? Did you miss out on your yearly sunflower competition? We want to know how you have adapted your Action Plan ideas, let’s share this information to help others with their Eco-Schools work.
- Please remind your pupils not to be disheartened if their eco-actions have not gone to plan. Use this as a tool to help young people become more resilient, we are sure they will be more successful next time.
Step Seven: Eco-Code
- No change; although the whole school community may now not be involved in the creation of your Eco-Code, especially if applying for your first Eco-Schools Green Flag.
Green Flag Application and Assessment
- We are currently not conducting Eco-Schools Green Flag assessment visits, however you can still apply for and achieve an Eco-Schools Green Flag.
- We will be awarding Eco-Schools Green Flags based on your electronic application ONLY. If we need more evidence or to clarify any details from your electronic application we will simply ask.
- The fee for an Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation remains £200 +VAT.
- We will continue to desk assess all Eco-Schools Green Flag applications until further notice. We aim to desk assessed each application within 48 hours of submission.
- Those who are taking part in our new online training sessions will be able to submit their Environmental Review, Action Plan and Eco-Board photo in advance, we will add to your Green Flag application on your behalf (saving our Eco-Coordinators time!)
- Our Eco-Schools Green Flag assessments are a rewarding experience and an important part of the Eco-Schools programme, which we hope to continue as soon as possible.
Green Flag Renewal Schools
- At the start of lockdown we contacted all schools who were due to renew between March and August to notify them of an extension until the start of the academic year. Karyn Fullerton will be in touch throughout September to offer one to one support to help you with your renewal application.
Our ‘How to Become As Successful Eco-School’ day training course has been put on hold until 2021 however we are very pleased to announce a new series of online training courses for Eco-Coordinators will be launching on Friday 14th August. Each course has been designed to enable Eco-Coordinators to progress through the Eco-Schools Seven Steps to Green Flag success in manageable time frames and are suitable for first and renewal Green Flag applications.
Like all our fantastic 20,100 (nearly 20,200!) registered schools we are constantly reviewing and adapting our
Eco-Schools programme as and when changes are made to school COVID measures. As former teachers of primary, secondary and A’ Level we will not implement any changes or create resources that we ourselves would not be happy to undertake with our own Eco-Committees, pupils and students. As always please get in touch if you have any ideas or suggestions for how we can better support our schools, we are all learning together.