Surrey Eco-Schools Easy Start-Up
The following video gives you a quick, easy-to-understand overview of the process of becoming an Eco-School.
The Eco-coordinator is the lynch pin for the whole Eco-Schools process in your school, they help run the Eco-committee and they are usually a member of paid staff at the school, but not exclusively.
The Eco-coordinator could be:
- A teacher
- School Bursar
- Site manager
An eco-committee needs to be set up as soon as you decide to take part in Eco-Schools.
How this committee is elected is up to the school. It could be a few members from an existing eco group, some or all of the school council or an elected member of each class. It is recommended that all years are represented.
The eco-committee needs to:
- Take the lead on all projects (they do expect that in infant schools the teachers will need to be more involved).
- Ensure the whole school is involved.
- Meet at least once every half term and take minutes and photos.(ideally a pupil would do this).
- Have members of staff who can help them. Ideally the head or a senior teacher would be on the committee as well as a governor or parent, and you can possible involve authority staff, kitchen staff, caretaker local authority staff, kitchen staff, caretaker etc.
An environmental review of the whole school is the first job of the eco-committee.
The review looks at all 9 topics. This is the baseline for any work you go on to do. Teachers will need to help with this, but it should be lead by the children.
A template for your review can be downloaded from the eco-schools website.
The environmental review can help you decide which areas you would like to work on.
(The review needs to be repeated yearly)
This is where you decide exactly what you want to do and start setting targets.
The action plan should include:
- Topic (which of the 9 you have decided to cover i.e. Energy, Transport or Waste)
- Action (what you are going to do i.e. Monitor energy use closely, run a waste awareness campaign?)
- Target what you want to achieve from the review. This could be a change in the way the school operates, for example a target could be 100% of classrooms to have paper recycling facilities by the end of the autumn term. Targets could also relate to behaviour change eg you have reduced the amount of energy the schools used based on the previous years consumption. To bring about this behaviour change you might do a poster campaign – this could be used to demonstrate progress towards your target. All targets have to be SMART.
- Timescale: when you want to achieve it by i.e. end of autumn half term
- Responsibility: this will usually be the eco-committee but there are some things which other people will need to do for the children.
- Actual result: what did you achieve i.e. by the end of autumn term more people walk to school rather than coming by car.
- Prioritise actions based on what has the lowest costs and is the easiest to achieve.
- A template can be downloaded for this from the eco-schools website.
How to monitor and evaluate your progress
To find out whether you’re successfully achieving the targets laid out in your action plan, you should monitor and evaluate your progress. As well as allowing you to judge the success of your activities and plan any necessary changes, a continuous monitoring process will help you to sustain interest in the programme throughout your school.
Your methods of monitoring will depend on the targets and measurement criteria set out in your action plan, as well as the age and ability of pupils, staff and helpers. You may wish to consider the following forms of monitoring:
- Meter readings to show the effects of energy/water saving activities
- Litter/waste audits to show the effects of litter/recycling initiatives
- Calculating financial savings from bills to show the effects of energy/water saving initiatives (where meters are not accessible)
- Gaining personal impressions of the changes that have taken place from pupils, staff, residents, local community. Carrying out this type of measuring complements whole school involvement
- Before, during and after photographs as visual evidence to support your Green Flag application/assessment
- Listing evidence of wildlife/species to show the effects of school grounds development
These are needed for silver and green flag only but schools can also introduce an ecocide anytime after registering if they choose to do so.
- This can be a song, poem, statement, pledge, rap – any format the school chooses, the more creative the better!
- It is the schools mission statement for the environment. It should link to the actions which the school is trying to achieve.
- The whole school should be involved in developing this eco-code and schools should display their eco-code prominently (e.g. in each classroom, on the eco-board etc.) so that the majority of staff and pupils get to know and understand it.
- The code should be displayed on your notice board.
Communicating with the whole school and wider community
Everyone needs to know about the work which is being done as part of eco-schools. They also need to be able to put forward ideas. This can be done in many ways- below are a few ideas:
- Letters to parents
- Homework projects
- Suggestion box
- Hold an eco day.
- Press releases
This is needed for all the awards and is a way to communicate with the whole school. This needs to be in a prominent location and should include:
- Names and photographs of the eco-committee (so other pupils can approach them with ideas)
- Details and pictures of ongoing projects.
- Examples of pupils work (e.g. letters, graphs, posters)
- Schools eco-code (if relevant to award)
- Actions currently being worked on.
Eco-schools can be linked into lots of parts of the curriculum. This includes:
- Maths and ICT
- PE and drama
- English and modern languages
- Design and technology
It can also be used to address cross curriculum issues:
- Sustainable development
- Personal, social and health education
- Global issues
See the Eco-Schools website for more guidance and ideas for lessons that link the 9 Eco-Schools topics.
Monitoring and Evaluation
This tends to be the area that schools struggle with most. As explained under the action plan, make sure your targets are measureable as you will need to demonstrate physical evidence that you have monitored progress against targets set and evaluated the success of your results.
For green flag a folder of evidence is needed. What is included in this will depend on the topics you covered and what your targets were. Schools should include some evidence of monitoring and evaluation carried out as part of curriculum work, e.g. meter readings used in maths or ICT, or essays on climate change issues produced in English.
Ideas for evidence are:
- Data from the Pod (details of this are on the eco-schools website)
- Example posters from campaigns
- Picture of eco board
- Store old material from eco board
- Utility bills
- Photographs of projects