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 and can be completed with your Eco-Committee.

The online, Green Flag application asks for:

  • Three brief examples of the curriculum work your school has 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):

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 your school is 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 and 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 corresponding year group. This will help the Eco-Schools team make sure that children from each year group 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. Again 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 your Eco-Committee what they will do differently next time! 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.

Eco-Board

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 and corresponding year group
  • Meeting Minutes
  • 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 the curriculum)
  • Your Eco-Code
  • Previous Eco-Schools certificates and awards
  • A place for non-Eco-Committee members to make suggestions.

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.

In the days before your Green Flag assessment, your Eco-Committee should meet to discuss their 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 and your Eco-Committee may also decide to gather evidence to help demonstrate your achievements for example: newsletters, photos and curriculum work. Some Eco-Committees even decide to prepare a short presentation for their Eco-Schools assessor, but this isn’t a mandatory part of the Eco-Schools programme and no Eco-Committee would be penalised for not preparing one.

Please Note: Even if your Eco-Committee have not chosen to work on our Litter topic in their Action Plan, your school will be graded on how much litter is present in your school 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.

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-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 the school 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 Eco-Schools programme is it is designed to be pupil-led, this should be reflected in your assessment visit – let the Eco-Committee lead the visit! As the Eco-Committee are in charge, it is up to them to decide on the format of the visit and what they want to show their Eco-Schools Assessor. 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 (the Eco-Committee can deliver a presentation if they have decided to prepare one).
  • A tour of the school with the Eco-Committee (stopping at the Eco-Board and viewing evidence of any topic work actions).
  • 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 (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 pupils.

After your Green Flag Assessment Visit

What happens after your Green Flag assessment visit?

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’s 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 your school will have covered all ten topics – just not all at once!

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