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Eco-Schools is an international programme of environmental and sustainable developmental education for schools. Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is the founder of the programme and Eco-Schools is just one out of their five programmes.

It is a management and certification programme where students are involved in the decision-making process and activities.

The aim of Eco-Schools is to raise students’ awareness of sustainable development issues through classroom study and community action. Primary and Secondary ((schools)) around the UK are taking part.

The themes that the students can involve in are:, Water, Waste/Litter, Energy, Nature and Biodiversity, School Grounds, Transport/Sustainable Mobility, Healthy Living, Noise, Local Agenda 21 and Climate Change.

By August 2013, the programme was implemented in 55 countries, involving 46 000 schools.[1]


The programme’s methodology consists of seven steps that the school needs to adopt as a methodology.

Step 1 Establishment of the Eco-schools Committee

Step 2 Environmental review

Step 3 Action Plan

Step 4 Monitoring and Evaluation

Step 5 Curriculum Linking

Step 6 Informing and involving the wider community

Step 7 Eco-Code

Eco-Schools Partners and Sponsors[edit]

  • HSBC Global Education Programme

Global Forest Fund[edit]

Eco-Schools compensates for their CO2 emissions from their flight travels when they go to for example conferences and national operator meetings. The compensation fund is distributed to projects involving children in tree planting activities.


The programme was developed in 1994 in response to the need to involve young people in environmental projects at the local level as identified at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development of 1992.The Eco-Schools Programme aims to raise students’ awareness of environmental and related sustainable development issues through classroom study together with school and community action, and provides an integrated system for environmental management of schools based on an ISO 14001/EMAS approach.

Participation and awards[edit]

Any school may participate in the scheme by registering with the administering body for their region. Once registered each school must review and improve their impact on the environment and in recognition of their commitment and progress they can then apply for an award. In the UK, there are 3 levels of award.

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Green Flag

In the UK applications both for the Bronze and Silver awards are self assessed by the school against a given set of criteria. The Green Flag Award however is examined by external assessors.

The Eco-Schools Green Flag, awarded to schools with high achievement in their programme, is a recognised and respected eco-label for environmental education and performance.

Northern Ireland is proud to have been the first country in the world to award a Green Flag to one of its Eco-Schools - Downpatrick Nursery School on 15 June 1994.


To qualify for an award the school must follow the following programme

  • Register - usually done by an adult (teacher or parent).
  • Eco-Schools Committee - a group of pupils and adults - some elected by their peers are assembled to manage the process.
  • Environmental Review - the Eco-Schools Committee must organise the school to carry out a review of the schools energy and water usage, waste production and state of the school grounds with respect to litter.
  • Action Plan- formed from issues identified by the review
  • Eco-code - the Eco-Schools Committee, with the participation of the whole school must develop a mission statement to be prominently advertised inside and outside the school.
  • Take Action - demonstrable progress must be made in three areas of the programme.
  • Monitor and Review - the Eco-Schools Committee must record and analyse the progress made

After these processes are complete the school can apply for one of the awards mentioned above dependent on the level of environmental progress made.

Representation in the United States[edit]

In the fall of 2008, the National Wildlife Federation was granted official Eco-School host status for K-12 schools in the United States.[2] NWF was chosen for its work to promote environmental education, connect people with nature and raise awareness about the threat to people and wildlife from global warming.

Starting in September 2009, the National Wildlife Federation was expected to begin registering public and charter schools across the U.S. as a part of the Eco-Schools USA programme.


Eco-Schools is a programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), who are best known for the Blue Flag beach programme. FEE is an international umbrella organisation with members in 66 countries covering Europe, North and South America, Africa and Oceania.

In England the programme is administered by ENCAMS who run other environmental campaigns such as Keep Britain Tidy. In Scotland, the programme is run by Keep Scotland Beautiful[1] and in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy[2]. In Northern Ireland the programme is run by TIDY Northern Ireland[3].

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^

External links[edit]