February Newsletter

February Newsletter

Hello! The Eco-Schools’ Green Flag application window is opening in a little over two months. You have until July 31st to complete actions and submit your application. With that in mind, this newsletter has plenty of ideas and partner projects that are easy to implement and perfect evidence for any Green Flag application. Carry on reading for inspiration, updates, and application advice!

Great Big School Clean 2024

The Great Big School Clean allows young people to take ownership over their local community, showing that they love where they live. This year’s clean takes place between 15th March – 31st March, and to celebrate Keep Britain Tidy’s 70th anniversary we’re encouraging pupils to make a #platinumpledge such as picking 70 items or making a collective effort to pick 70 bags! This year’s campaign officially launches on Friday 23rd February, but keep an eye on your inboxes on Wednesday 28th February, when Eco-Schools will be sharing further details.

Count Your Carbon

Count Your Carbon is the nation’s first free carbon calculator built for nurseries, schools, and colleges.  The tool is easy to use, comprehensive, and designed in conjunction with educators and carbon experts. You can read an article about a teacher’s experience using the tool here, watch a short video about it here, or sign up for free training on how to use it here… or you can simply register and begin counting your carbon today!

The Big Plastic Count 2024

For one week, from 11 – 17 March, thousands of people from across the UK will be coming together to count their plastic waste and your school can join them! The Big Plastic Count will reveal how much plastic we are throwing away and the results will be used to convince UK ministers to phase out plastic pollution for good. Taking part as a school, or class, is easy, click the link below to get involved.

Take part in a free, student-led climate education activity

Teach the Teacher provide free training, resources, and support to empower young people to deliver a one-hour climate change workshop with their teachers. Students gain valuable green skills while teachers are offered a unique CPD opportunity and resources to help them integrate climate into their classrooms afterwards. Taking part is easy, with no more than 4 hours of investment needed to run your session.

Does your school have a sustainable food hero?

Nominations are now OPEN for the Jamie Oliver Good School Food Awards which celebrate the sheer brilliance, ingenuity, and determination of those working in the education system to bring good food and food education to our children. There are 8 categories, including Sustainability Star.

Duracell’s Big Battery Hunt is back

Take part in the national battery recycling programme and help your school achieve an Eco-Schools’ Green Flag Award. Complete with free resources and the chance to win great prizes, register today for a simple and fun way to teach about the topic of sustainability.

Application advice

Applying for an international Eco-Schools’ Green Flag accreditation can seem intimidating, so below we’ve addressed some common concerns whilst providing advice to get you over the line when the application window opens in May:

  • We provide free Eco-Schools’ training sessions to guide you through the process. Our upcoming Summer Term sessions will cover applying for a Green Flag, and you can sign up here. If you contact eco-schools@keepbritaintidy.org, we can also send over recordings of previous sessions.
  • Our application form is deliberately comprehensive. This is our way of ensuring the majority of those who are able to complete it then go on to achieve accreditation.
  • We don’t expect your setting to be ‘perfect’, instead our assessment process focuses on what you have achieved encouraging you to build on these achievements in the future.
  • Our team is not looking to ‘catch you out’, if you can’t answer a question, use your application form to tell us why. Almost always this demonstrates that an educator has adapted our framework to get the best outcomes for their setting – this as a positive!
  • Applications are mostly judged on progression through the seven steps as opposed to the size, scale, or cost of projects in an Action Plan. This is because we trust applicants to decide on projects that are appealing to their eco-committees and manageable in their circumstances.
  • If you submit an application and it requires a little more evidence, we will get in touch with you as soon as possible and let you know exactly what is missing before offering you a chance to resubmit.
  • Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about your application, just get in touch – our team’s role is to support the wonderful work you’re doing to empower and engage young people whilst making education settings more sustainable.

A nursery update/request

At Eco-Schools we are planning to update the programme for nurseries and early years settings before September 2024. This update will include creating new resources, developing a separate early year’s application, and making changes to the Eco-Schools’ criteria. We will be working with a leading early year’s sustainability expert and some of our country’s biggest nursery chains on these updates, and we also want to hear your voice!

If you work in a nursery, have a spare 5 minutes, and want to help shape the future of the Eco-Schools’ programme in early years settings, please click the link below to complete our simple survey!

And finally,

  • Over the last week our social media channels have posted new project ideas every day, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Don’t forget to check out our 50 Eco-Projects resource for Action Plan ideas, you can find this when you login to your Eco-Schools account under resources for Step 3: Action Plan.
  • World Book Day is on Thursday 7th March. You can promote reading and protect our planet by organising a book swap in your school, or promoting environmental literature (Magic Cat Publishing has some great titles).
  • Sustrans’ Big Walk and Wheel is celebrating it’s 15th year and taking place this year from 11-22 March – it’s free to take part and their are daily prizes.

Make a difference,

The Eco-Schools’ Team!