Eco-School Grants and Funds
Eco-Schools Turn Pupils GreenEco-Schools is an international initiative designed to encourage pupils to take action for the environment. The need to involve young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development problems was identified at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Rio Earth Summit, in 1992. Two years later the Eco-Schools programme was born and in 1995 it was introduced to the UK.
The aim is to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the school and to engage the winder community. More specifically, Eco-Schools can help:
- Improve a school's environment.
- Reduce litter and waste.
- Reduce energy use and water use.
- Devise efficient ways of travelling to and from school.
- Promote healthy lifestyles.
- Encourage active citizenship.
- Build strong partnerships with a variety of community groups.
- Develop international and global links.
Pupil involvement is a key part of the Eco-Schools programme. By engaging pupils in monitoring, action planning and decision-making, they can gain a sense of ownership of the programme and feel more responsible for the school environment and local area. The desire is to help children become more effective citizens by encouraging them to analyse their school's operations and try to make them more sustainable.
Many Eco-Schools report an improvement in pupil behaviour due to an increased sense of belonging and pride within the school. Learning can improve too, as by linking to the curriculum - particularly in science, geography and citizenship lessons - the programme can add purpose to the study. There is evidence to suggest that motivation improves when pupils are able to see the big picture.
Small Changes for Big SavingsThere are financial gains to be made too, and small changes at Eco-Schools can lead to considerable savings. Switching off lights and electrical appliances when not in use, installing energy efficient light bulbs and closing doors and windows to prevent draughts will cut energy bills and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Less waste can mean reduced waste collection charges, while switching off taps to save water or making compost from garden and kitchen waste are useful measures too.
The Eco-Schools programme is also an award scheme that can raise the profile of schools in the wider community. There are three award levels: bronze, silver and green flag. The first two are self-assessed, but the more prestigious green flag is externally assessed.
Grants Available in UK
Eco-Schools is run internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-governmental, non-profit organisation promoting sustainable development through environmental education. FEE has member organisations in 38 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Oceania. Eco-Schools is administered in the UK by Keep Wales Tidy, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Tidy Northern Ireland and ENCAMS in England, and is supported by a wide variety of partners.
Grants are available to Eco-Schools throughout the UK. Schools in England and Northern Ireland that have achieved a bronze or silver award can apply for funding to help them progress towards the green flag. The maximum grant is £5,000 in England and £4,000 in Northern Ireland. Once a school in Scotland has received any of the awards it is entitled to apply for a one-off Scottish Government grant of £250, while a Scottish or Welsh school with a silver award can gain a grant of up to £1,000 to help towards the green flag.