Overview

Eco-Schools is a proven schools-based sustainability education framework operating in 74 countries globally and developed by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), based in Denmark. It is a curriculum-linked, democratic and participatory program that provides an excellent opportunity for students to experience active citizenship in their schools. Both schools and the wider community benefit from this program.

Eco-Schools follow 7 Steps to investigate and take action on one or more of the Eco-Schools 7 Themes.

When a school has worked through each of the 7 Steps, for at least 3 Themes, they can then apply for Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation. The Eco-Schools Green Flag is international and recognised by organisations such as UNESCO. It is a symbol of a school’s commitment to environmental education. You can find out more about the Eco-Schools Green Flag and other Eco-Schools awards by clicking this link.

The Seven Eco-Schools steps are designed to make environmental actions pupil-led. Working through each of the seven steps and achieving Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation can be done in a single academic year. Several of the steps, for example Step 5: Informing and Involving, naturally overlap and this is encouraged – our process is designed to be holistic.

Below, is a brief summary of each step, but further details, examples, criteria and resources can be found on our individual step pages by clicking the relevant pathway in the menu bar above. We recommend checking these pages before beginning your Eco-Schools journey to ensure you meet the criteria for each step and can make use of our free resources designed to make your Eco-Schools journey a success!

  1. Eco-Committee, a group of students and adults responsible for all things Eco-Schools.
  2. Environmental Review, a free-to-download resource which has been designed to review learning environments and provide inspiration to Eco-Committees.
  3. Action Plan, a plan for environmental actions in your school.
  4. Curriculum Links, including environmental issues in your school.
  5. Informing and Involving, including all pupils, staff members and your local community in Eco-Schools work.
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation, measuring the impact of the projects in your Action Plan.
  7. Eco-Code, a rallying call that everyone can get behind!
When creating an Action Plan, Eco-Committees choose three topics to work on. Eco-Committees select the three topics they would like to work on from the Ten Eco-Schools topics below. Further information, project ideas, examples and useful links for each of the ten topics can be found on individual topic pages by clicking the relevant school pathway in our menu bar above.

  • Biodiversity: Habitats & Homes, examines life present on schools grounds, suggests protections to increase biodiversity and educates students about the natural world an our place in it.
  • Energy & Climate: Super Smart Power, reducing energy use and investigating greener energy sources.
  • Fair Go: Global Citizens for Social Justice, ways in which schools can consider their purchasing policies and work with local and global communities
  • Lifestyles: Healthy and Active, improving mental and physical well-being.
  • Waste: The Cycle of Stuff, refusing, reusing, repairing and recycling!
  • Litter and Waterways, taking action to reduce litter in your local area and beyond. We all live in a catchment!
  • Water: Drink, Think and Save the Sink, protecting our most important natural resource: freshwater.

Several of our topics are broad and have a natural overlap, for example if an Eco-Committee decided to plant a sensory garden, this action could be used for several different topics: Biodiversity (as flowering plants appeal to bees); Healthy Living (as spending time in nature is linked to good mental health). If you made it a bush tucker garden with the guidance of local Aboriginal Elders, you would also be linking to Fair Go! In this case it is entirely up to an Eco-Committee which topic they link their planting to. We would never say to an Eco-Committee that they have linked an action or project to the wrong topic!

We also welcome actions linked to other organisations, such as Frog ID Week, the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and countless others to be used as evidence in Eco-Schools Green Flag applications. Uniquely, this enables Eco-Coordinators to collate all the amazing work their school does in one overarching management system.

Why Eco-Schools?

Eco-Schools makes working on sustainability practical and fun and is motivational for students and teachers. Environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss or plastic pollution are large global issues and the thought of tackling them can sometimes be overwhelming. Many of those interested in promoting education-based eco-action will wonder:

How and where do I begin?

How can I involve and engage young people?

How can I retain focus and momentum?

How can we have a positive impact on issues so numerous, overwhelming and global such as the climate crisis or marine plastic pollution???

The Eco-Schools program provides a solution to all these questions. Our Seven Step Framework has been designed as a very simple environmental management system that empowers young people to introduce and lead environmental actions and education in their school and beyond!

The Eco-Schools program aims to place young people at the heart of environmental action. Our Seven Step framework supports young people of all ages and abilities to work together to plan, deliver, monitor and evaluate environmental actions in their school.
Participating in the program:
  • Engages young people in important environmental issues.
  • Demonstrates to pupils that environmental actions can be enjoyable, social and rewarding.
  • Teaches responsibility and generates a sense of community.
  • Teaches negotiation, collaboration and leadership skills.
  • Develops the skills and knowledge young people need to play an active role in protecting our environment now and throughout their lifetimes.
  • Empowers students with the belief that they can have a positive impact on our planet.
  • Prepares students for STEAM careers through project-based learning.
  • Creates a brighter future for the world students are growing up in!
Eco-Schools is a great approach to integrating sustainability into KLAs, improving the school grounds, getting the local community involved and creating a positive school image!
Eco-Schools:
  • Consume less water,
  • Use less energy and
  • Produce less waste
Creating financial savings for schools!
Although, focussing only on the above examples, or financial savings, would fail to recognise the true impact and benefits of the Eco-Schools program:
  • The growth of a community of thousands of schools and students who have engaged with Eco-Schools over the past 25 years.
  • The increased green spaces.
  • The improved biodiversity.
  • The benefits to mental and physical health of participants.
  • The multiple unique environmental actions and projects they have planned and delivered.
  • The friendships made.
  • The behaviours changed.
  • The confidence gained by the thousands of individuals who have worked through each of the Eco-Schools seven steps.
Register today!