FAQ

  • FAQs
    Frequently asked questions about the Eco-Schools program.
  • What is Eco-Schools? What does the program involve?

    Eco-Schools is an environmental education and accreditation program for educational institutions that was initiated by the United Nations in the 1990’s. It runs in around 60 countries. It is led by The Foundation for Environmental Education in Copenhagen, Denmark, and by Keep Australia Beautiful in Australia.

    The program offers a 7 Step framework with accompanying guidelines and resources and an opportunity for participants to gain formal accreditation with Bronze, Silver and Green Flags. An overview of the 7 Steps and accreditation criteria can be found here on The Program page of our website.

  • What type of schools can register?

    Eco-Schools program is open to any educational setting. The program can be modified to Primary Schools, High Schools, K-12 Schools, Early Years settings, International Schools, Schools of the Air, Distance Learning Schools, Children's Centres, Out of School Hours play and care settings and Environmental Education Centres and more.

    Registration is via a simple online form.

  • We're not a school, but we work with schools on sustainability initiatives. How can we participate?

    If you're a local council, sustainability education provider, or other regional body that assists schools with sustainability education or environmental management, you can assist your network of schools to participate via the group registration model. This includes complimentary registration as a Support Organisation. Download further information and register here.

  • How much does it cost to join the program and what do we get by taking part?

    It is AUD $100 + GST per school, per year for an individual school registration.

    It is AUD $60 + GST per school, per year for a group registration facilitated by a local council or other support organisation. Download further information

    Following registration, participants receive a welcome letter, getting started checklist, certificate, and weekly emails containing information, ideas, support and resources.

    Registered schools are eligible to apply for Bronze, Silver & Green Flag accreditation and Eco-Schools grants which provide financial assistance towards Eco-School activities and projects.

    Your nominated main contact is provided with a login to the online accreditation application forms.

  • What support can teachers access to assist their Eco-School program?

    Support opportunities are evolving as the program is growing and registered Eco-Schools PD for teachers is being trialled in NSW during 2015. View current Support Organisations on the Eco-Schools Australia website Live Map.

    Schools can access phone / skype and email support from KAB staff (call KAB National 02 8626 9396 for advice).

    Eco-Schools Australia website and the international program websites provide a huge bank of guidance and resource links for Eco-Schools participants.

    Teacher orientation workshops for registered schools may be organised on request where teachers across a region are able to form a group. Contact us for more information.

  • How long does it take to become an Eco-School and get a Green Flag? How do we progress through the levels?

    You can commit to the program and become a registered Eco-School right away by completing this form.

    With regards to Bronze, Silver and Green Flag accreditation, every school is different, but a recommended approach is 1 level per year, for example Year 1 = register and work towards Bronze, Year 2 = Silver, Year 3 = Green Flag. Have a read of the Awards page for further information about this rationale and progression routes. Schools are also welcome to repeat a previously achieved level to build skills and confidence in a new cohort.

    There are some Australian schools who are very advanced in their sustainability approaches and may wish to look immediately towards Silver or Green Flag Eco-School accreditation – please contact info@eco-schools.org.au to ask about this.

  • What happens after we get our Green Flag?

    You’ll be sent a Green Flag to fly at school and will be assisted to celebrate and promote your achievement. Green Flag schools are sustainability leaders so you will develop a mentor role in your region by doing activities like Eco-School tours, inter-school partnerships and enabling your team to develop communication and coaching skills with Eco-Committees in other schools.

    Once the Green Flag has been raised, you’ll be expected to provide updates to show the framework is being maintained in order to promote continual improvement. Green Flag judging and auditing approach for Australia is being designed in Term 3, 2015.

  • How are the accreditations judged?

    Bronze and Silver levels require submission of an online form (see the word version here) and every submission is desktop assessed by the Eco-Schools Australia team at KAB. The judge will provide a feedback report with recommendations for progressing to the next level.

    Green Flags are require submission of the same form, and also involve an on-site assessment by a Green Flag judge. Green Flag judging and auditing approach for Australia is being designed in Term 3, 2015.

  • How much extra work is it? Teachers are so busy already.

    Minimum estimated times for teacher input on essential, non-curriculum-based program tasks are listed below, based on Bronze Award level. Apart from that, everything can be curriculum linked, so not more extra work. Schools can choose to dedicate as much or as little time as they like to each step, depending on their goals and their resources.

    Registration 15 minutes
    Baseline Survey Up to 2 hours, to compile and input information
    Eco-Schools Portfolio Ongoing collection of completed project work & photos
    Award Applications 1-3 hours, approx. annually
    Eco-Committee Meetings 1 - 2 hours per term to review, action-plan & evaluate
    Curriculum Integrate ‘Eco-Schools’ into existing curriculum planning
    Projects Depends on action-plan aims, which are set by school

     

  • I'm registered and trying to log in. What's my password?!

    Use the "I forgot my password" link, or email info@eco-schools.org.au and we will assist you.

  • Do you have any resources or ideas to get us started?

    Your welcome pack contains a getting started checklist.

    The best way to initiate a program is by gathering your eco team and doing an environmental review (Step 2 of Eco-Schools program). You'll generate lots of ideas about projects that you could do. You'll reflect on past projects, acknowledging what's worked and what needs some work. Make a simple and achievable action plan and take it from there. Promote your action plan to the local community and see who's got skills or resources that can help you.

    Eco-Schools grants offer financial assistance and a simple framework based on the 7 Steps to help you achieve your Bronze accreditation.

  • I'm interested in interstate and international partnerships. How do I link with another school?

    Visit our School Partnerships page for guidance.

  • We already have an Environment/Sustainability framework in place. (e.g. a School Environmental Management Plan (SEMP), the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative e.g. Resource Smart Schools, or a Local Council program.) Does Eco-Schools program of

    You are welcome to compare your existing approach and activities to the Eco-Schools program and incorporate any new ideas for an even more holistic approach. Please contact us about submitting achievements on other programs for an Eco-School accreditation – most sustainable school programs integrate very well.

    Anyone can visit Eco-Schools websites or subscribe to the Eco-Schools Australia termly e-newsletter in order to gather additional ideas and resources.

    Some opportunities and approaches that are unique to Eco-Schools are the strong focus on student leadership (via an Eco-Committee and student-led action projects) and the opportunity to be assessed and formally accredited with the F.E.E. Green Flag. We can also assist with inter-state and international partnerships with other Eco-Schools. We can only allocate our grants to registered participants, and we can only judge accreditation applications from registered participants.

  • We’re already accredited with another program. Does this count towards Eco-Schools accreditation? (e.g. 1-5 Stars in the Queensland Cleaner Greener Schools program or Victorian Resource Smart Schools program).

    Yes. Accreditation is possible for any school that has undertaken activities that match the descriptors in the Eco-Schools accreditation criteria document.

    Applicants must be registered with Eco-Schools Australia and complete a simple online application form, but apart from that “evidence” towards accreditation can be presented in any format, utilising formats and resources from any program. Applicants don’t have to re-write or re-structure their action plan to fit an Eco-Schools template.

    An Eco-School accreditation is internationally significant and working towards Eco-Schools accreditation can provide additional ideas, contacts and challenges.

    In some regions, schools are assisted to “graduate” from a local or state program into Eco-Schools program. Contact us if you would like to explore this possibility.

  • We’re new to all this / our “Eco” teacher just left. What’s the starting point?

    No school is starting from scratch. Eco-Schools program helps schools evaluate past projects & organise future efforts into a simple, student-driven action plan.

    Here are some ideas to help reinvigorate the school’s environmental program:

    Re-group with your team or “Eco-Committee” (Step 1) and reflect on past environmental activities. Acknowledge what’s working well and everything that’s been achieved to date. Involve students and teachers who have been at the school a long time and newcomers.

    Do an environmental review (Step 2) and record your future aims and targets into a simple action plan (Step 3).

    Keep it simple and manageable by prioritising one key theme or campaign to start with, e.g. “litter” or “Keep Australia Beautiful Week”.

    Use the 7 Steps to create a holistic initiative. Here’s a project mapping template that might help you.

    Set an accreditation goal, e.g. Our school aims to achieve Eco-Schools Bronze accreditation this year.

    Look at Bronze Award Criteria – you’ve likely achieved some of this criteria already, e.g. if there are some environmental themes in the curriculum; you have some form of ‘Eco-Committee’, environment group, or Green Team, action projects are underway like tackling litter, reducing waste, saving energy, growing vegetables.

    Register for Eco-Schools (it’s a simple online form) We’ll send a registration pack to a main contact person and you’re good to go. Explore the website guidance. Contact KAB to discuss ideas, resources and support opportunities.

  • We’re too busy

    Plan Eco-Schools projects as a means to achieving necessary learning outcomes – this integrates the program into the curriculum and avoids making it extra work or an additional club to run. Get lots of staff (and parents) on board to share the load and integrate with curriculum leaders. For example students completing Eco-Schools Step 2: Environmental Review and Step 4: Monitoring & Evaluation develop numeracy and science skills such as data collection, interpretation and presentation, following a methodology with rigour, taking measurements and conducting mathematical calculations about volumes and quantities of materials needed for action projects or energy/waste/water savings. Literacy, communication, creative and technology skills can be developed by students running Eco-Schools themed events and performances, writing different styles of text, setting up an eco-website or online quiz. Integrate resources from a range of providers, e.g. the banks of sustainability teaching and learning materials at Scootle, TES, Cool Australia, Nude Food Movers, Australian Organics, Stephanie Alexander and countless more.

  • There’s only me interested in Eco-Schools, I feel overwhelmed and un-supported

    Take small steps and start with quick wins. Have a short initial Eco-Committee meeting with a small, keen group - plan a small, fun and visual project to get started and spark other peoples’ interest, like starting a wormery or a building a bug hotel.

  • Why is there a registration fee?

    Participants pay a small fee to help maintain a diverse and sustainable funding base for the program, which will enable it to continue long-term.

  • We haven’t got the funding or expertise to deliver the projects we’ve identified.

    Eco-Schools aren’t expected to have expert environmental management knowledge or infrastructure within a certain timeframe. Each Eco-School sets their own unique goals and achievable action plans, making best use of available resources.

    Eco-Schools can promote their program goals to the wider community and often will successfully appeal for specialist support and resources from various partners in the local region. Most take advantage of free activities and resources too and approach experienced environmental education teachers for assistance.

    Your Eco-Schools action plan or SEMP can also give you project ideas for grant funding applications. Registered Eco-Schools are eligible to access Eco-Schools grants which will be made available through KAB whenever resources permit.

  • Our business supplies goods or services that are relevant to an Eco-School. Is there an opportunity to introduce our products to Eco-Schools?

    Usually no, but this can be discussed on a case-by-case basis if the product supports sustainability education and environmental management.

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