Environmental awareness and Ecoschools
At the core of all tasks undertaken by Sustainable Development, is the need to raise
awareness of environmental issues.
Most young people care deeply about environmental issues. They want to help, but
knowing what to do is not always easy. Eco Schools could be the answer.
The Eco Schools programme is an international initiative designed to encourage whole-school action for the
environment. It is a recognised award scheme that accredits schools who make a commitment
to continuously improve their environmental performance. It is also a learning resource
that raises awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues throughout
activities linked to curricular subjects and areas.
The aim of the Eco Schools programme is to make environmental awareness and action
an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the school for both pupils and for staff
and to engage the wider community.
The Eco Schools programme can help schools to:
- Improve the school's environment
- Reduce litter and waste
- Reduce energy and water use
- Devise efficient was of travelling to and from school
- Promote healthy lifestyles
- Encourage active citizenship
- Build strong partnerships with a variety of community groups
- Develop international and global links
Where did the programme come from?
It was at the UN Conference on Environment & Development (Rio Earth Summit)
in 1992 that a need to involve young people in finding solutions to environmental
and sustainable development challenges at a local level,was identified.
As a result, the Eco Schools programme was developed in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education(FEE) and introduced into the UK, including Scotland, in 1995.
There are now 41 countries throughout Europe and Africa involved in Eco Schools
and there is also much interest beyond, such as in New Zealand, South America and
China. The United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) is also very supportive of
the programme and is an institutional partner of FEE, as is the Scottish Government
What's in it for schools?
Recognition and publicity
The Eco Schools programme leads to the prestigious international environmental award
- the Green Flag. It shows that a school is committed to the highest standards in
environmental education and management – something to celebrate and be proud
Money and savings
The programme provides guidance about saving energy, reducing waste and implementing
recycling schemes, all of which can add up to direct and long-term savings for schools.
Links to the curriculum
Managing a school’s environmental performance requires knowledge and skills
that relate directly to Scottish curricular requirements for ages 3 to 18. The programme
provides numerous opportunities to link the Eco Schools process and activities to
a wide range of curriculum subjects and areas: in particular environmental studies,
personal and social education, health and citizenship, as well as other initiatives
such as Enterprise. Involvement will also highlight links to How
Good is Our School.
National Priority Four: Values and Citizenship
Participation in the Eco Schools programme is also a performance measure for one
of the Scottish Government Education Department’s national priorities in education.
Local authorities must report on ‘the number/ percentage of primary and secondary
schools within their area that are participating in the Eco Schools award or similar
accredited environmental award’.
Each authority will make schools aware of the local strategy being put in place
to progress this measure.