Green Flag Assessment

Everything you need to know about applying for and achieving your Eco-Schools Green Flag Award

Applying for your Green Flag

Log on to your Eco-Schools account to apply for our internationally recognised Green Flag award.

Once you have worked through the Eco-Schools Seven Steps, it is time to apply for an international Eco-Schools Green Flag award – you can do this by logging in to your Eco-Schools account at the top of the page. The great news is that we have worked hard to make our Green Flag application as simple and quick as possible: it should take no longer than thirty minutes to complete!

The online, Green Flag application asks for:

  • Three brief examples of the curriculum work you have completed linked to any of the ten 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.

As well as completing a Green Flag application, you will also be asked to submit the following documents (please read Uploading Evidence below before completing your Green Flag application):

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

Finally, you will also need to select dates when your school is available to be assessed. As Eco-Schools relies on volunteer assessors we recommend choosing as many dates as possible. Before we assign an assessor to your school, we will double check that you are still available on the date the assessor has chosen.

Uploading Evidence

The evidence we need to see before approving your Green Flag application.

Environmental Review

You should use the official Eco-Schools Environmental Review (found under resources) and it should be completed by the Eco-Committee, with adult support, then scanned and uploaded: please do not write it up neatly as the Eco-Schools team enjoy seeing children’s working out. On the front of your Environmental Review, we ask that you write the names of the children who have completed it and their age. This will help the Eco-Schools team make sure that a broad range of children have participated in Step 2.

Action Plan

Your Action Plan should also be on the official Eco-Schools template (see resources). Our template contains all the information we need to assess your application and again should be scanned and uploaded. Please do not try to write up your Action Plan neatly, as the Eco-Schools team see it as a working document. If some of your actions have failed, you should still include them in your Action Plan (the Eco-Schools team are strong believers in growth mindset), on your assessment visit the assessor may ask you and your Eco-Committee what will be done differently next time to make your action a success. We also view incomplete or ongoing actions as a positive – we think Eco-Schools work should be ongoing, for example an assessor would expect to see evidence a planting area has been created or prepared rather than seeing fully grown fruit or vegetables.


The Eco-Board is one of the most important pieces of evidence we look at when desk-assessing Green Flag applications. You can see our Eco-Board template here. The Eco-Board is designed to have evidence of each of the Eco-Schools Seven Steps in one place that is accessible to your whole school and its community. Your Eco-Board should contain:

  • Your Eco-Committee with names, ages and photographs (if possible)
  • Evidence of Eco-Committee meetings
  • A copy of your Environmental Review
  • A copy of your Action Plan
  • Curriculum work examples
  • Photos of your project work
  • Examples of Monitoring and Evaluation (including one example that links to your curriculum)
  • Your Eco-Code
  • Previous Eco-Schools certificates and awards

We place great emphasis on the Eco-Board during our desk assessment – we would much rather ask for more evidence at this stage than disappoint you and your Eco-Committee after an assessment visit. If we feel we need more evidence for any aspect of your Green Flag application, we will simply e-mail you to ask for it – we never ‘fail’ Green Flag applications.

Preparing for your Green Flag Assessment Visit

Guidance on getting ready for your big day.

Please note that due to the COVID Pandemic, this academic year Green Flag Assessor visits are unfortunately not being conducted. Instead Eco-Schools Green Flags will be awarded based solely on a school’s online application.

In the days before your Green Flag assessment, you and the children on your Eco-Committee should meet to discuss your achievements whilst working towards an Eco-Schools Green Flag: during your assessment visit your Eco-Schools Assessor will want to hear all about these achievements. You may also decide to gather evidence to help demonstrate your achievements for example: newsletters, photos and curriculum work.

Please Note: Even if your Eco-Committee have not chosen to work on our Litter topic in their Action Plan, you will be graded on how much litter is present in your grounds (Eco-Schools England is ran by Keep Britain Tidy after all). In this regard, you may want to organise a litter pick or picks in the days leading up to your assessment visit: this will ensure your school grounds look at their best.

The day of your Green Flag Assessment Visit

Everything you need to know about your Green Flag assessment visit.

Please note that due to the COVID Pandemic, this academic year Green Flag Assessor visits are unfortunately not being conducted. Instead Eco-Schools Green Flags will be awarded based solely on a school’s online application.

We are proud to say that our Green Flag assessment visits are a positive experience: they are one of the most rewarding parts of the Eco-Schools programme. The Eco-Schools team view assessor visits as a chance for an Eco-Coordinator and their Eco-Committee to celebrate and show off all of their hard work. The Eco-Schools team only send an Eco-Schools Assessor to a school when, having desk-assessed their application, we are confident a school or nursery is meeting the Eco-Schools Seven Step Criteria and working at Green Flag level. So relax: the hard part is over, the assessor visit is your chance to shine!

One of our favourite things about the Early Years Eco-Schools Pathway is it is designed to involve children as much as possible, this should be reflected in your assessment visit – allow the Eco-Schools assessor to meet the children on your Eco-Committee!  An assessment visit usually lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours and during that time the assessor will grade your school against each of the Eco-Schools Seven Step criteria and on the amount of litter in your school grounds.

The most common format of an assessor visit is:

  • A meeting with the whole Eco-Committee.
  • A tour of your school or nursery with the Eco-Committee (if possible) viewing evidence of your Eco-Schools work.
  • A chance for the Eco-Coordinator to talk to the Eco-Schools Assessor alone and show any additional evidence they may have gathered to support their Green Flag application.
  • A chance for the Eco-Schools assessor to talk to a member of senior leadership or management (when possible) to deliver  feedback.

Please note: Eco-Schools carry out safeguarding checks on each of our volunteer assessors, however, they are not DBS checked as at no time during an assessment visit should they be left alone with children.

After your Green Flag Assessment Visit

What happens after your Green Flag assessment visit?

Please note that due to the COVID Pandemic, this academic year Green Flag Assessor visits are unfortunately not being conducted. Instead Eco-Schools Green Flags will be awarded based solely on a school’s online application.

The Eco-Schools Assessor will not tell you the outcome of your assessment visit, instead, they will contact the Eco-Schools team with the result and the Eco-Schools team will contact your school within 48 hours. There are three possible assessment results:

  • Pass
  • Pass with requirements
  • Defer

We have one award: the Green Flag, so please do not be disappointed to receive a Pass with Requirements: you have still achieved a Green Flag. A Pass with requirements grade simply means there is an aspect of the Green Flag Seven Step Criteria that you will need to address when working towards your next Eco-Schools Green Flag in two years’ time. In the extremely rare case when a school or nurseries application is deferred the Eco-Schools team will work closely with you to help you achieve a Green Flag in the near future.

After you have been informed of your result, the Eco-Schools team will send you an invoice for £200+ VAT. Unfortunately, as a charity, Eco-Schools has to charge for Green Flag assessments to cover the cost of the Green Flag as well as administration and assessor expenses. Once your school has paid the invoice, the Eco-Schools team will send your Eco-Schools Green Flag, certificate and letter containing any requirements to work on in the future. Upon logging in to your Eco-Schools account, you will also have access to the Eco-Schools logo to use on your school’s website or letter-headed paper.

Your Green Flag award lasts for two years. For your 2nd Green Flag you are expected to work on five topics (this includes three topics you can carry on from your previous application and two new, additional topics). With every subsequent renewal we ask you to change a further two topics, until eventually you will have covered all ten topics – just not all at once!

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