The first term of an academic year is always challenging – there are new students to meet, lessons to plan, displays to be made, schoolwork to mark and, on top of this, there has also been a new (and improved) Schools Portal and Eco-Schools Green Flag Application to get used to! As always, our thousands of wonderful Eco-Coordinators have risen to the challenge, with 2,674 schools already beginning their Eco-Schools Green Flag application! Thanks to data provided by you, we can say that this academic year the Eco-Schools programme is reaching at least 605,000 young people across England!
So, to all of you who are going above and beyond to engage young people in environmentalism, the Eco-Schools Team want to say thank you and wish you a relaxing festive period and a very happy new year.
Action Plan Advice
At this point in the academic year, most Eco-Committees are beginning to think about creating, or beginning, their Step 3: Action Plan. Below are three tips from the Eco-Schools Team to ensure your Action Plan is successful, impactful and manageable.
- Treat your Action Plan as a working document, if an action isn’t working, look at how it could be adapted, or swapped for a new action – this means you and your Eco-Committee won’t lose momentum. If an action is going better than expected, or a target has been easily achieved, you can always add more projects to your Action Plan!
- Appreciate simple actions, environmental projects don’t need to be big and elaborate to be fun, engaging and impactful. For example litter-picking is simple, social, rewarding and makes an immediate difference to your local environment.
- Expand your Action Plan into young people’s homes. For example if you’re working on the energy topic, include energy-saving tips in your school e-newsletter for pupils and parents to also save energy at home.
The 25 members of Eco-Schools’ first ever National Eco-Committee have been chosen and, we have to say, the quality of submissions was jaw-dropping. We have definitely found some future environmental leaders! Our new National Eco-Committee will work with OCR and the Eco-Schools team to green the National Curriculum and ensure that the Eco-Schools programme is always evolving, improving and focusing on youth-led environmental action. Keep an eye on our social media platforms from Monday 13th December, when we will begin introducing the selected 25.
COP 26, Make Every Sch0ol an Eco-School
To coincide with COP 26, Keep Britain Tidy launched the Every School an Eco-School campaign. Following a successful local authority webinar, the campaign reached Parliament and was spoken about during a Tidy Britain all-party parliamentary group meeting (APPG). Following the meeting MPs wrote to ministers from the Department of Education and Department of Energy, to formally champion the Eco-Schools programme and encourage the government to support us.
Eco-Schools England Facebook Group
Our Eco-Coordinators only Facebook group is currently going from strength-to-strength, becoming a nest of environmental education discussion with over 600 active members. Recent discussion includes eco-advent calendar ideas, ways to reduce single-use plastics and advice on hedgerow planting. Click below to join and don’t forget to answer the three simple questions we ask everyone before joining – this is simply to keep the group a safe space for eco-educators!
Thank you to everyone who has logged on to their Eco-Schools account and begun completing their Eco-Schools Green Flag application. Now that many of you have completed the questions for Step 2: Environmental Review, we can say that (so far) the topic that the most schools have scored highest on is a tie between Biodiversity and Healthy Living, whilst the topic that the most schools have scored lowest on (so far) is Marine! Remember, to log on and let us know your Environmental Review results (if you haven’t already)!
As always, stay safe and be proud of yourself – you are going above and beyond!