The Government in England wants every school to be a sustainable school by 2020. Eco-Schools is an international award programme that guides schools on their sustainable journey, providing a framework to help embed these principles into the heart of school life.
Eco-Schools is one of five environmental education programmes run internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Children are the driving force behind Eco-Schools – they lead the eco-committee and help carry out an audit to assess the environmental performance of their school. Through consultation with the rest of the school and the wider community, it is the pupils that decide which environmental themes they want to address and how they are going to do it.
Schools work towards gaining one of three awards – Bronze, Silver and the prestigious Green Flag award. Bronze and Silver are both self-accredited and Green Flag is externally assessed by Keep Britain Tidy.
The Eco committee
So...What do we need to do to achieve the silver award?
The school has identified an Action Team which has met on at least four occasions. The Action Team includes a parent and/or governor representative.
- The Action Team has completed a formal Environmental Review and has recorded the results.
- The Action Team has produced a detailed Action Plan (including timescales and targets) and shared the plan with the rest of the school community.
- The school has a prominent, designated notice board, web pages or newsletter which details Eco-Schools activities.
- The school can identify progress towards one large-scale project and indicate involvement with two others. ‘Identify progress’ means that the school has an understanding of the project topic and recognises its importance to sustainable development within the school environment and the wider community.
- The school has informed parents and the wider community about the work being undertaken by the school in relation to Eco-Schools.
- The school can indicate that some environmental issues have been covered within curriculum work in most year groups.
- The Action Team can demonstrate progress towards achieving at least two elements of the Action Plan.
- Reduce waste- help reduce your eco-footprint by practicing recycling, composting, saying no to disposables, bring your reusable bag and buying less.
- Save energy-use less energy by turning off appliances when not in use, switching to energy saving bulbs and investing in energy-saving appliances and products.
- Travel Green- 25% of the worlds gas emissions are caused by vehicles. Ditch your car as often as practicably possible and cycle, walk or ride public transport.
- Use Renewable- Use renewable energy where possible. Install solar panels on your rooftop and use solar-powered objects
- Conserve water- Watch your water usage by turning off taps when not in use, taking short showers and avoiding unnecessary water consumption.