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Eco Schools

The Eco Schools programme, now an international programme, promotes environmental awareness in a way that links to the curriculum. Many of the cross-cutting themes of a Curriculum for Excellence, those of Citizenship, Sustainable Development Education, Health and Well-being, Creativity and Enterprise can all be tackled through Eco Schools. The programme also helps our young people to become Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Responsible Citizens and Effective Contributors, the 4 purposes of a Curriculum for Excellence.

The Eco Schools agenda involves the whole school, pupils, staff and parents, and promotes links with SBC, other environmental agencies, local businesses and the community. There are 8 topics in the Eco schools agenda: Litter, Waste Minimisation, Energy, Water, Transport, Health and Well-being, School Grounds and Biodiversity. There are 3 levels of award, Bronze, Silver and Green Flag. Bronze and Silver are largely based on schools’ self-assessment. Green Flag requires a visit from a team of assessors. Each Green Flag award is valid for 2 years, after which schools must re-apply. Permanent status is achieved after the 4th Green Flag assessment.

In SBC, the Eco Schools agenda is included in the Single Outcome Agreement and targets have been set for schools to work towards. All primary and secondary schools are registered for the programme, though schools are at different stages on the journey, Current statistics show that we have achieved the following awards:

Bronze 46
Silver 38
First Green Flag 6
Second Green Flag 3

Congratulations are sent out from SBC to all schools achieving awards, and these achievements are shared with all head Teachers. It is really important to recognise the hard work and commitment demonstrated by pupils, staff, parents and community members involved. Many schools now have Eco Schools built into their School Improvement Plans.

A number of schools have held Eco Action days, where a wide range of activities are on offer for pupils to enjoy. These include making shelters, identifying plants and birds, litter picking, recycling, splat the rat, making bird and bat boxes, leaf printing, to name but a few.

In partnership with Marks and Spencer, a post for a Schools Environmental Development Officer has been created. The successful applicant will take up her post at the beginning of the school session, working 14 hours a week. The remit includes supporting schools in gaining Eco Schools accreditation, more specifically schools which are not very far along the journey, producing a toolkit of practical, local information and resources and preparing challenges for schools to take part in. Although this is a part-time post, it will run over 2 school sessions, giving schools some continuity of support. We look forward to welcoming the Environmental Officer in August.

Fiona Jeffrey
PT ACE

Fiona is the eco schools officer in the Borders.

 

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