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Most young people care about environmental issues and want to make a positive change. The Eco-Schools programme provides the opportunity to foster environmental awareness while linking to many curriculum subjects.   Eco-Schools aims to educate and empower young people to make positive decisions and become change makers for an environmentally sustainable world.

Eco-Schools is holistic

It aims to create environmental awareness and action and embed these as part of the ethos of school life. Everyone is included and has a role to play from the students; teachers; non-teaching staff and parents;  local authority; the media and local businesses. Eco-Schools endeavours to extend learning beyond the classroom and develop responsible attitudes and commitment, both at home and in the wider community. Its participatory approach and combination of learning and action make it an ideal way for schools to improve their environments and their local communities while influencing the lives of young people, staff, families, local authorities, NGOs, and all other bodies involved in this vitally important work.
View these enjoyable videos to see and hear the benefits of Eco-Schools to pupils and teachers.

Filmed at the Eco-Schools Teachers Conference 2019.

You can view the 2018 Teachers Conference video here.

You can view the 2017 Teachers Conference video here.
Eco-Schools is an international environmental education programme
Eco-Schools is both a programme and an award scheme
Eco-Schools is a long-term programme

Developed in 1994 on the basis of involving young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges locally, the programme was initiated by member organisations of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) with the support of the European Commission (EC).

It has been implemented throughout the world in 67 different countries! The number of Eco-Schools is growing as more schools take up the challenge and work towards improving their environment through education and action. Together they share the same methodology and concept, and are identified by the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag.

The Eco-Schools Green Flag, awarded to schools with high achievement in their efforts, is a recognised and respected eco-label for environmental education and performance. In Northern Ireland, the Eco-Schools programme is operated by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an environmental charity, and is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA), all of the local councils and other organisations. 

Bleary Primary School receiving their Green Flag

Northern Ireland is now ranked sixth out of the 67 participating countries for the number of Green Flag Status Schools. We were also the first country in the world to award a Green Flag to one of its schools. This was Downpatrick Nursery on 15 June 1994. This is a fantastic achievement and one that Northern Ireland can be proud of.

All schools in Northern Ireland are now registered on the Eco-Schools Programme. The 1000th Green Flag in Northern Ireland was awarded to Walker Memorial Primary School, Dungannon, in May 2017.

This is your opportunity to join an international programme with a rapidly growing community of schools all committed to Environmental Education and Sustainable Development.

Schools using the guidelines on this website or in the handbook can adapt it to their needs. While the Green Flag award will be given to schools that complete all the essential elements of the Eco-Schools programme, it remains flexible and appreciates that schools will find individual routes to achieving Eco-Schools Green Flag status.

The Eco-Schools highest award takes the form of the internationally recognised Green Flag. This can be flown outside the school or displayed in the foyer. The programme is one of continual improvement of the school's environmental performance and pupils' awareness and actions. The award requires renewal every two years.

Meaning of the Eco-Schools NI logo