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, which you can do by logging in to your Eco-Schools account. 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:

  • 3 brief examples of the curriculum work your school has completed linked to any of our ten topics
  • A brief description of how you have monitored and communicated your topic actions
  • Tick boxes 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 – Eco-Schools relies on volunteer assessors, so 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 our official Eco-Schools Environmental Review (found under resources) and it should be completed by the Eco-Committee, scanned in and then uploaded – please do not worry about typing it up. On the front of your Environmental Review, we ask that you write the names of everyone who has completed it and their corresponding year group. This will help the Eco-Schools team make sure that students from each year group have participated in Step 2.

Action Plan

Your Action Plan (see resources) should also be on our official Eco-Schools template (this contains all the information we need to assess your application) and scanned in. Please do not try to write up your Action Plan neatly – we see the Action Plan as a working document. If some of your actions have failed, still include them on your Action Plan (the Eco-Schools team are strong believers in learning from mistakes), on your assessment visit you will probably be asked what you will do differently next time! We also view incomplete or ongoing actions as a positive, we think Eco-Schools work should always be ongoing e.g. an assessor would expect to see evidence that 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 Seven Steps in one place that is accessible to the whole school and its community. Your Eco-Board should contain:

  • Photos of your Eco-Committee (if possible) and corresponding year group – there needs to be someone from every 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 (graphs or charts)
  • 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 of your Green Flag application as we would much rather ask for more evidence at this stage then disappoint you 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 should meet to discuss your achievements whilst working towards a Green Flag: during your assessment your Eco-Schools Assessor will want to hear all about these! You may also decide to gather evidence that helps demonstrate these achievements, for example: newsletters, photos, curriculum work and any monitoring your school has completed. Some Eco-Committees decide that they would like to prepare a short presentation for their Eco-Schools assessor, but this isn’t a mandatory part of the Eco-Schools programme – it is up to each individual Eco-Committee to decide if this is something they want to prepare.

Please Note: Even if your school has not picked our Litter topic in your 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 to ensure your school grounds are 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 celebration and chance for schools to 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 time to shine!

One of our favourite things about the Eco-Schools programme is it is designed to be student-led, this should be reflected in your assessment visit – let the Eco-Committee lead the visit! As the Eco-Committee are in charge of leading the visit, 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 prepared 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 the Green Flag application.
  • A chance for the Eco-Schools Assessor to talk to a member of senior leadership (if 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 students.


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, they will contact the Eco-Schools team 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 cases 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 found out your result, the Eco-Schools team will send you an invoice for £200 +VAT. Unfortunately, as a charity, Eco-Schools has to charge for a Green Fag assessment to cover the cost of a Green Flag as well as administration and assessor expenses. Once your school has paid the invoice, the Eco-Schools team will send your certificate, Green Flag and letter containing any requirements to work on in the future. Upon logging in to your Eco-Schools account, you will also now 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 and for your next Green Flag application you are expected to work on five Eco-Schools topics (this includes continuing the three topics from your initial Green Flag 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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