Awards Criteria

Registered Eco-Schools can apply for Bronze, Silver and Green Flag Awards in recognition of their achievements. Gaining an award is a great way to celebrate and reward achievements. It also shows the community that the school cares about the environment and promotes sustainability.

The awards framework and application forms are available to download below as a guide. The criteria for each separate award stage are also provided below in checklist format. Please log in to your school and fill in the online award application process and submit for assessment.

Eco-Schools Australia Awards Structure & Criteria

ES Baseline Survey – Word Version

ES Awards Application Word Version



Eco-Schools Bronze

Eco-Schools Bronze Award Checklist


Eco-Schools Silver

Silver – Eco-Schools Silver Award Checklist


Eco-Schools Green Flag

Eco-Schools Green Flag Award Checklist

ES Green Flag Logo

PLEASE NOTE: Australian schools who have adopted sustainability education frameworks, like AuSSI (SEMPs), may be eligible to submit this work for an Eco-Schools Award: contact for advice.


The Awards are like milestones in a school’s progression towards environmental sustainability, and in environmental education becoming strongly integrated across the school’s curriculum. Awards are a really useful motivational framework, enabling the school community to gain recognition for their achievements.

There’s no rigid timeframe, deadlines or order for awards applications and progression. Schools are free to decide which award to aim for, and when to apply. One award application per school year, starting with bronze and working up to Green Flag, is a great approach to maintain momentum. Further information about the rationale behind the Eco-Schools Award structure and criteria is outlined below.

Awards Application & Assessment


Applications for Bronze, Silver and Green Flag Awards are open year-round.

The school Eco-Committee self-evaluate which award status they feel they are reaching using the criteria checklists. When logged in, registered schools can complete a simple online award application form, from the Awards area of this website.

Applications are assessed by Keep Australia Beautiful National Association. Bronze and Silver Award applications are dealt with online and via email. Green Flag Award applications also involve a school visit by an Eco-Schools Green Flag judge or in the case of regional and remote schools this may be via Skype or video conferencing.  This provides a mentoring opportunity for the school, as well as quality control of Green Flag standards.

Registered Eco-Schools have an online profile which stores copies of all awards submissions to date, and their current award status.

Awards Progression Structure

Eco-Schools Awards are intended to be milestones in a school’s sustainability journey, and schools should aim to make 1 award application per year.

The suggested route for schools is to start at Bronze and work up through Silver to Green Flag. Learning from around the world suggests that it takes 2-3 years for a school that is ‘starting from scratch’ to attain the Eco-Schools Green Flag. Once at Green Flag level, a school would aim to maintain their program at this level by making an annual Green Flag Renewal Application.

In reality, schools achieve the award milestones at different rates and individual circumstances may mean that the traditional sequence is not always followed.

-Some newly registered schools feel confident to start at Silver level and are welcome to do this.

-Schools can also build skills and confidence in a new Eco-Committee, or where the school has a change in staff team, by starting again at an Award level that they have already achieved in the past.

Awards Criteria Rationale

Achievement of Eco-Schools Awards is focussed on the school’s progress in establishing the 7 Step framework, rather than the installation of specific measures or infrastructure, or evidence of a low carbon footprint. This approach is chosen to:

-Help schools making continual and achievable improvements to the environmental management of the school

-Maintain focus on curriculum development & community engagement in the themes being addressed

-Enable all schools to participate, whatever their starting point or available resources

Example: A school which has access to a large budget to install an array of state-of-the-art renewable energy technologies may not achieve an Eco-Schools Award unless they could demonstrate that the project had been carried out in the context of the Eco-Schools framework. Successful application of the 7 Step Framework to a project such as this might involve:

The Eco-Committee would include the project in the Eco-Schools Action Plan for the topic of Energy. They might organise a special assembly, and invite parents and other members of the school community. Students could research and present information about the project and wider issues related to energy sources in Australia. Teachers would organise for the project to be linked in with the school curriculum – for example one year group might learn about energy from different sources, making direct links to the project. Another class might record and chart the school’s actual energy usage from different sources. The Eco-Committee could be responsible for collecting this information to monitor and evaluate the impact of the project. They would conduct an environmental review to highlight further opportunities to conserve energy around school.