To maximise the impact of your Eco-Schools work you will need to get as many people involved as possible – this is your time to show off and let others know about all the amazing eco-actions you have planned for your school. In order to help you with this, you must have a prominent, eye-catching Eco-Board that we will need to see an image of in your Green Flag application. You could also hold assemblies and class presentations, have an Eco-Stall at school events, edit a page of your school’s website to showcase your work or organise a whole school event and competition. Don’t forget the power of social media too; if your school allows make sure to include @EcoSchools in any tweets about your Eco-Schools actions.
If your school runs Media courses they can help too (another Step 4 Curriculum Link) through the schools newsletter, local press or even school radio!
Informing and Involving Criteria
In order to achieve the international Green Flag award your school must meet the following criteria.
Your school has a prominent and designated Eco-Board detailing all of your work on the Eco-Schools Seven Steps and chosen topic actions. This includes: Eco-Committee members from all year groups (with photographs if possible), meeting minutes, a copy of your Eco-Schools Environmental Review, your Action Plan, examples of Monitoring and Evaluation and your Eco-Code.
Your Eco-Board should be regularly updated to reflect your Eco-Schools work.
Your Eco-Committee should use a variety of mediums to help communicate their topic actions: newsletters, school website, the school’s Twitter account etc.
Your whole school and wider community is involved in Eco-Schools work in and around the school, for example: parents/carers, local authorities, businesses, other national and regional charities, neighbouring schools and residential groups and homes.
Informing and Involving Resources
Here is a selection of resources designed to help you inform and involve your whole school and wider community, please login to your school Eco-Schools account to find more.
You will need to submit a photo of your Eco-Board for your Green Flag application. It is an essential part of your Eco-Schools work acting as a blueprint for your eco-actions and a reminder that being an Eco-School is about a whole school approach.
What’s great is that the Eco-Board can be designed, created and updated by you at any point on your journey to Green Flag. Use our Green Flag standard template to when putting your own together.
Your Eco-Committee, showing students from all year groups (preferably pictures, but if not possible then names and year groups) so others know who to speak to in order to find out more about your Eco-Schools work.
Minutes of meetings.
Evidence of actions that your school has undertaken so far.
Your most up to date Environmental Review and Action Plan.
Evidence of your previous Eco-Schools awards, along with any other accreditation or awards that link to your Eco-Schools work.
Space for suggestions from others and examples of eco-work that has been covered in the curriculum (Step 4).
Some of the most common questions asked by schools about this step.
How do we involve our whole school in the Eco-Schools programme?
One of the best ways of involving the whole school is to sign up to one of the many environmentally friendly events that happen every academic year. An example is our Keep Britain Tidy Great Big School Clean (22nd March 2019) or the Pod’s Switch Off Fortnight in November 2018. There are many other examples; it is entirely up to your school and Eco-Committee to choose which events to get involved in based on the topics you have picked for your action plan.
How do we inform our wider community about the Eco-Schools programme?
You can inform the wider community about the Eco-Schools programme through newsletters to parents (e-mailed newsletters are preferable), invitations to school events and through sharing your progress on any social media the school may have. You could also invite members from the wider community, such as local businesses, to join one of your Eco-Committee meetings (depending on your school’s safeguarding policy) and encourage the community to get involved in Eco-Schools events such as litter picks or school uniform swap shops.
Can we have an electronic Eco-Board?
In short, yes! We have seen schools have a page on their school website act as an online Eco-Board accessible by both students and parents. We have also seen schools put all of the information required on an Eco-Board in a PowerPoint presentation, which is then displayed on screens throughout the school. If you do decide to create your Eco-Board electronically it is important that it still contains all of the information on our Eco-Board template as we use this as evidence when assessing Green Flag applications.
Downe House School, Thatcham
In an effort to save paper, Downe House Eco-Committee (or DECOs for short) decided to use their school website to create an electronic Eco-Board and tell the world about their journey to Eco-Schools Green Flag. Acting almost like an eco-blog, the DECOs' webpage hosted all the Eco-Schools work usually found on a physical Eco-Board: Environmental Review, Action Plan, Monitoring and Evaluation, a fantastic Eco-Code etc.
However, hosting their Eco-Board electronically also allowed the Eco-Committee to create an innovative, detailed and forward-thinking Eco-Board, which also included: detailed description of why actions in their Action Plan were chosen; links to environmental news stories; book recommendations; advice on being sustainable at home; environmental quizzes; art competitions; surveys; details on staffroom environmental action... and much more! Thank you DECOs for showing us how electronic Eco-Boards can enhance Eco-Schools work!
This photograph is of Torin and Reece broadcasting their 'Eco-Time' show from Victoria Education Centre's VIBE (Victoria Inclusive Broadcasting Enterprise) radio station. Radio manager Tony is a part of Victoria's Eco-Committee and he uses talking points and information from committee meetings to create eco-shows. Each radio show includes interviews with passionate students and the sharing of any Eco-Work (poems, research, speeches) that the students have completed. The show also includes eco-jingles and information about upcoming eco-events. Currently, they are creating a soundclip of their Eco-Code to include in their broadcasts. Other recent features have included: student information on how to grow a pumpkin in the run-up to Victoria's School Pumpkin Growing Collaboration and an interview with an expert on trees, who visited the school and shared tips on identify trees. Staff and students at Victoria all agree that the radio station is a great way to share all their Eco-Schools work.
Eco-Schools is an integral and major component of Cardinal Allen's curriculum. As a Green Flag holder, the Eco-Schools programme drives campaigns to reduce energy use, litter and waste in our local community. The Healthy Living and Transport topics have instigated projects that have enabled their students to live healthier lives and the Biodiversity topic has empowered students to look after their local environment and wildlife. The Eco-Schools twinning programme has also allowed Cardinal Allen to link with students from around the world and sharing their passion for environmental issues.
Cardinal Allen is part of a large cluster of 14 like-minded schools and they share many joint activities to make the Fleetwood area a better place to live. Over the past few years, they have enjoyed getting to know each other at events such as their Eco-Conference and Eco-Fashion Show as well as trips to local country parks.
Not only have pupils at Ashfield School in Nottingham appeared on BBC East Midlands Today talking about their Eco-Schools work to the local community, they also begin targeting new Eco-Committee members before they are even old enough to join the school! At year 6 open evenings, prospective students are asked to write an environmental pledge on a piece of bunting. This bunting is then saved to go in their base room in the next academic year - a great way to brighten a room and tell everyone about what is important at Ashfield!