Step 3 Action Plan

A working document to help your school (or nursery) plan and manage actions for 3 Eco-Schools Topics, which you will work on during the school year.

Action Plan Criteria

In order to achieve the international Eco-Schools 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 Eco-Schools topics.
  • Each time an Eco-Schools Green Flag is renewed at least one of the three topics from the previous year’s Action Plan must be swapped.
  • Your Action Plan is completed on one of the provided Eco-Schools templates, or contains all the information found on the Eco-Schools Action Plan templates.
  • Your Eco-Committees Action Plan is displayed on your Eco-Board and older children on the Eco-Committee share your Action Plan with other children and staff in your school or nursery.

Action Plan Criteria Guidance

Further information about the Eco-Schools criteria for Step 3: Action Plan.

  • Specialist settings, through schools, middle schools, prep schools, pre-prep schools etc. are free to choose which of our Action Plan templates they would like to complete (Early Years, Primary or Secondary).
  • Projects in the Action Plan should have started, but do not necessarily have to be completed before applying for an Eco-Schools Green Flag award between May and July. Some larger Eco-Schools projects may be used as evidence in two, or even three, Eco-Schools Green Flag applications.
  • We are more than happy to accept evidence of work on other environmental charity projects, such as RSPB’s Wild Challenges or Fairtrade Fortnight as evidence towards our Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
  • We recommend creating your Action Plan, and beginning the Action Plan section of your Eco-Schools Green Flag online application, in November then continuing working on the actions for the remainder of the academic year.

Eco-Schools Team Tip

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 Resources

A list of Action Plan resources you will be able to access when you login to your Eco-Schools account.

Please use our Free Action Plan Templates, you will need to submit your Action Plan when applying for or renewing your Eco-Schools Green Flag.

Action Plan Resources

  • Early Years Action Plan Audio Guide. Advice on creating a successful Action Plan from a member of the Eco-Schools team.
  • Early Years Beginners Action Plan Example. An example Action Plan for schools or nurseries new to the Eco-Schools programme.
  • Early Years Intermediate Action Plan Example. An example Action Plan for schools or nurseries renewing their Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
  • Early Years Advanced Action Plan Example. An example of an ambitious Action Plan for schools or nurseries renewing their Eco-Schools Green Flag award.
  • Early Years Eco-Fundraising Ideas. Inventive ideas for raising money for additional Eco-Schools projects, whilst simultaneously completing eco-actions.
  • Early Years Topic Action Certificates. A certificate for each of the ten Eco-Schools topics that can be use to recognise change-makers.
  • Early Years 30 Topic Action Ideas. 30 simple ideas to inspire your Eco-Schools Action Plan.

Compulsory Action Plan Resources

  • Early Years Action Plan A3 Editable. A version of the Eco-Schools Action Plan designed to be completed digitally on Word.


  • Early Years Action Plan Template. A version of the Eco-Schools Action Plan designed to be printed and completed by hand.

Earth Cubs Eco-Schools Introduction Video

Check out our wonderful Eco-Schools introduction videos created by our Friends at Earth Cubs.

Enjoy the Earth Cubs and Eco-Schools instructional video for Step 3: Action Plan. The Eco-Schools Team, Frankie the Fox and friends know you will be able to create an exciting Action Plan, which will make a big difference!

Action Plan FAQs

Everything you need to know about developing an Action Plan

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

You need to work on three of our ten topics. If you are renewing your Eco-Schools Green Flag you should substitute one of the topics from your previous, successful Action Plan.

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 to avoid a loss of momentum.

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.

Remember that you can apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag award even if an Action from your Action Plan is incomplete.

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 you have begun to implement the action then this can be used as evidence towards your Green Flag award. Some larger Eco-Schools projects can be used as evidence towards two or even three Eco-Schools Green Flag applications.

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