COVID-19: Green Flag Criteria
Forming your Eco-Committee
Selecting your committee members
Representatives should put themselves forward or be selected for election from within any ‘bubbles’.
One class, year group or bubble can be selected as the Eco-Committee provided eco-activities are carried out in all year groups.
- There is no stipulation in the 2020/21 year to have representatives from all age groups. We suggest that P4-P7 in primary schools would be the most suitable age group under the current circumstances. In nursery school, teacher led is acceptable.
Meetings can take place virtually over platforms such as Google Classrooms, Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.
- If a single class is selected as the Eco-Committee, meetings can take place as normal in person.
- Minutes should be taken and recorded virtually in one ‘working’ document (platforms such as Google documents are ideal for this) and saved as evidence. Minutes can be uploaded into the Resource Library in the School Zone.
- Meetings should still take place a minimum of 6 times.
Please note that we will not stipulate the completion of an Environmental Review in the 2020-21 academic year as we appreciate that movement will be restricted within the school building. If you do not complete an Environmental Review, please upload a blank copy to the Resource Library to complete that section of the application.
Selecting your Topics
There are 11 topics to choose from and can be found on the Eco-Schools website here. As usual, you must have at least one Major topic and two Minor topics. The decision of which is which is at your discretion.
- Please select accordingly from the list that can be found here.
- If in the last academic year, you have already started work on certain topics, please continue as normal but ensure that you can evidence all actions taken on those topics from the initial starting point.
Creating your Action Plan
The Action Plan sets goals and provides a structured timetable of actions to be taken around each of the topics selected. Find the updated Action Plan template here.
- Not sure what goes into an Action Plan? Find an example here.
The School Eco-Code
An Eco-Code is your Eco-Schools environmental mission statement. It needs to be visible, memorable and engaging, to everyone in your school.
- The format of the Code is entirely up to the school. You have a license to be as creative as you like. The format should be appropriate for the age and ability of the pupils concerned.
Creating your Eco-Code
- It is vital that pupils feel they have had involvement in developing this code, as this will give them a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for the programme and its values.
- One of the easiest and most engaging ways to involve pupils is to run a competition throughout the school to create this. Provided the Eco-Committee does not take part in this competition, they can even be the judges! If they do want to take part, there can be a whole school vote or the decision can be made by a panel of staff.
- This year your Eco-Code entries can be considered for the annual Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition. Pupils P7 and above can participate in this competition. With prize money to be won, contact Francesca Di Palo today to find out more.
Informing and Involving your school and wider community
Use of social media
- Update the Eco-Schools page on your website regularly. For inspiration of how this could look, check out the website of Ambassdor Eco-School Waringstown Primary School.
- Use our hashtags on social media to let us know what you have been up to. Active hashtags include #stayconnected2ESNI #EcoSchoolsNI #YRE #LLC #litterless #communityactiondays
- Alternatively tag us on:
Whole school days of action
Participate in Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful Webinars
- Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful will be running regular Webinars this year. Participate and receive an internationally recognised certificate of attendance. This certificate can be used as evidence and can be uploaded to your Resource Library.
- Dates for these webinars can be found on the Eco-Schools Facebook page.
Whole School resources across the key stages
- Eco-coordinators can share whole school resources with other teachers to disseminate across all the key stages in the school. These resources/lessons explain the reasoning behind collecting the data and the importance of the work the eco-committee are carrying out through a class activity.
Check your progress with Monitoring and Evaluating
- This is one of the most important pieces of evidence that you need to provide to the Eco-Schools team.
- Monitoring and Evaluation has now been built into Curriculum links to help provide you with extra help and resources.
- The same class (or classes) should carry out at least one before and one after survey for your Major topic. This information should then be transferred into the Data Zone found in your School Zone.
- Classes that do not participate in carrying out the survey should be presented with the lessons we have provided for all age groups to ensure understanding of the value of Eco-Schools activities. You can find these lessons in our Resources page on the Eco-Schools NI website.
- If you have evidence of Monitoring and Evaluating that does not fit into the Data Zone, please submit this information to your Resource Library.
- Top tip – do Monitor and Evaluate as you go along - don’t - leave it to the last minute!