Step 3 Action Plan

A plan for environmental actions in your school or nursery

View the full Green Flag criteria, resources and examples below

Action Plan Criteria

In order to achieve the international Green Flag award a school or nursery must meet the following criteria, which has been created for Early Years settings

  • An Action Plan is created with input from children on the Eco-Committee.
  • Actions on your Action Plan are led by staff, but designed to involve children.
  • You have planned actions for three topics (if working towards your first Green Flag) or five topics (if you are renewing your Green Flag, changing two of the five topics with every subsequent renewal application).
  • Your Action Plan contains timescales, who is responsible for the actions and how your topic actions will be monitored and evaluated.
  • Older children on the Eco-Committee share your Action Plan with other children and staff in your school or nursery.
  • A copy of your Action Plan is displayed on your Eco-Board.

Eco-Schools Team Tips

Younger Eco-Committees may not be able to take the lead on planning or delivering the actions in your Action Plan, but the actions should still be centred on child involvement. You may decide to create an outdoor classroom they can use to learn, take part in daily exercises to keep them healthy, introduce more plant-based lunches to reduce their carbon footprint or build a bug hotel with them to encourage insect life.

Action Plan FAQs

Everything you need to know about developing an Action Plan

How many topics do I need to develop an action for?

For your first Green Flag three topics. If you are renewing your Green Flag five topics, changing two topics with each subsequent renewal. Hopefully, this will help embed your Eco-Schools actions into your school.

Do we have to choose actions for the topics that we performed badly on in our Environmental Review?

We recommend you use the findings of your Environmental Review to choose the topics you focus on, but it is not mandatory and it is entirely up to you and your Eco-Committee to decide which topics you want to focus on.

Are early years children too young to create an Action Plan?

Children on the Eco-Committee should have the opportunity to share their ideas when developing an Action Plan, however, some of these ideas may need additional adult support to develop an achievable Action Plan.

How ambitious should the actions in our Action Plan be?

Your actions can be as big or small as you want, we don’t expect every Eco-School to install renewable energy sources or have zero waste (well maybe by your 5th Green Flag!) An effective action can be as simple as appointing energy monitors and creating posters to remind people to switch off electrical devices when not in use. The most important thing is that children are involved and the actions are manageable in your setting. Any eco-action is better than none at all, especially for your first Green Flag

How many actions should we complete for each topic in our Action Plan?

This is entirely up to you, a topic might have one action or numerous actions, but please aim to make your Action Plan realistic and achievable.

How long should our actions take?

Again, this is entirely up to you – remember the Action Plan is a working document, so you have the option to adapt and change deadlines.

One of our actions has failed, can we still use this as evidence towards a Green Flag award?

Yes, as long as you can provide evidence that shows you tried! Not every action we see is a success and part of our philosophy is learning from mistakes.

One of our actions is taking a long time to complete, do we have to wait till it is complete to apply for a Green Flag award?

No, as long as you can provide evidence that shows you have started work or are planning to work on that action, then this can be used as evidence towards your Green Flag award. In fact, one of the key things our Eco-Schools Green Flag Assessors look for during an assessment (celebration) visit is that Eco-Schools actions are ongoing.

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