The Eco-Schools Committee is the driving force behind the Eco-Schools process and the first step towards becoming an Eco-School.

Guidelines from Foundation for Environmental Education:

The Role of the Eco-Committee

  • Leading the Eco-Schools program
  • Representing the whole school and wider community interests
  • Ensuring that the entire school knows about Eco-Schools and will receive regular updates
  • Developing, implementing and monitoring the school's Eco-Action Plan that addresses the environmental concerns of the school community
  • Taking the lead in carrying out the initial and subsequent Environmental Reviews (Step 2 of the Eco-Schools Methodology)
  • Ensuring that all members of the school community (especially pupils) are represented in the decision-making process
  • Providing a link between pupils, teachers, senior management and the entire school community and, ideally, the Local Community, integrating the program within the School Development Plan.

Who should be on the Eco-Committee?

There is not one particular way to set up the committee. It might grow from a group that is already active in the school or be set up from scratch through nominations from the principal or the pupils. It is crucial that pupils are represented in the committee and ideally selected from their peers after the prospective candidates explain why they are volunteering to be on the committee (this could be done during a school assembly). These pupils should be chosen (or ideally, elected) so that they represent the whole school.

An ideal Committee will also represent the views of the wider, local community as well as the whole school. Members could include:

  • it is essential that pupils have  a  high representation on the committee
  • a member of the school board
  • other teachers
  • a parent or guardian
  • non-teaching staff, e.g. the janitor, facilities manager, business manager, catering supervisor, or health educator
  • a representative from the local community
  • a representative from a local environmental organisation

How is the Eco-Committee organised?

How often the committee meets is decided by the school, however some schools have found that they need to meet more regularly in the beginning, until the program becomes established, or during a big project.

Committees should keep records of their decisions in the form of minutes. These should be shared at school management meetings, with all classes/year groups and displayed on an Eco-Schools notice board. Key issues should be raised at school assemblies and with the wider community when possible. Wherever possible, it is recommended that pupils carry out the minuting process and the subsequent dissemination of information.

The sense of democracy involved, and the motivation in resolving initiatives brought forth by the students themselves are products of this process.

If your school is an infant school or kindergarten, you may decide that formal meetings are not practical with such young children. You can still, however, have Committee members who discuss issues, make decisions and update others regarding particular projects. Suitable avenues for disseminating such information could be via circle time or through practical activities.

It is also recommended that you think of ways in which to ensure the continuity of Committee plans and knowledge from one school year to the next. Pupil members could, for example, serve a 1.5 year term with an overlapping 'handover' phase to make sure that new Committee members are not 'starting from scratch'. Continuity planning is also essential to ensure that a school's eco work survives if a key member of staff leaves the school.


Bronze Award Criteria Eco-Committee

  • The school has an Eco-Committee that meets at least once a term, and members include:
    • Pupils
    • Teachers
  • Minutes are kept of meetings and progress reported back to class

Silver Award Criteria Eco-Committee

  • The school has an Eco-Committee that meets at least once a term, and members include:
    • Pupils
    • Teachers
    • Parent/governor representative
  • Minutes are kept of meetings and progress reported back to class
  • Pupils share responsibility with adults for running the committee, e.g. chairing, voting, taking minutes. (At teachers’ discretion, based on age and ability of pupils involved.)

Green Flag Award Eco-Committee Criteria

  • The school has an Eco-Committee that meets at least once a term, and members include:
    • Pupils from a range of year groups
    • Teachers from 3+ classes or departments
    • The Principal or Principal’s representative
    • a parent and/or governor representative
    • School facilities staff member
  • Minutes are kept of meetings and progress reported back to class and school governors
  • Pupils take significant responsibility for running the committee, e.g. chairing, voting, taking minutes. (At teachers’ discretion, based on age and ability of pupils involved.)

A list or photo of the committee members is displayed in school and there is an agreed method for electing and training new members to ensure continuity of the Eco-Committee.