Eco-Schools is a pupil led programme and whole school participation is a crucial element. Therefore, your Eco-Committee must include pupils amongst its members.
The Eco-Committee (ideally elected by the whole school) takes the lead on the school's involvement in the project. Ideally, the committee includes pupils from each year group, teachers, non-teaching staff, management and parents.
An ideal Eco-Committee will also represent the views of the wider local community as well as the whole school. Examples of this include local council representatives or other local environmental contacts, perhaps from the voluntary sector.
The Eco-Committee is designed to be flexible and can take many forms tailored to meet the individual circumstances of your school. It could be part of an existing group who meet regularly or in some cases, it could include every pupil and staff member in the school.
Often the committee is made up of volunteers from the student body as well as teachers and other interested members of the community. In some cases schools will go through a full election process with manifestos, election speeches, canvassing, election posters and ballots in order to fill the various positions on the committee!
The Eco-Committee is responsible for carrying out the initial and subsequent Environmental Reviews and for preparing an Action Plan for the whole school to engage in.
Regular meetings, at least twice per term, should be organised to discuss environmental action for the school. Minutes should be recorded showing the results of group discussion and action to be taken.
Wherever possible, we recommend that pupils chair these meetings, carry out the minuting process and actively ensure that the whole school is consulted in the decision-making process.
It is important that the Eco-Committee establishes robust lines of communication to ensure all information, ideas or developments are disseminated throughout the school. These records should be shared at school management meetings, with all classes/year groups and displayed on the Eco-Schools notice board.
Pupil members of the committee are responsible for bringing ideas from the rest of the pupils to the committee and reporting back results of committee meetings to all the classes or forms in the school. Key issues could be raised at school assemblies and with the wider community when possible.
TOP TIP to get things started on the right track - invite your local council Environmental Education Officer or Recycling Officer where possible to one of your meetings to give advice and help to get your Eco-Schools programme underway successfully.
Find out who to contact in your area.
Once you have elected your Eco-Committee, you should then move on to Step 2 The Environmental Review.