Celebrating 25 years of Eco-Schools Scotland
This year Eco-Schools Scotland, run by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, celebrates its 25th anniversary.
For quarter of a century the international Eco-Schools framework has supported Scottish educators and pupils to develop skills, knowledge and confidence to improve local environments as well as act on the greatest challenge the world faces – climate change.
Today, some of the first children reached by Eco-Schools Scotland have become teachers and parents themselves. They could easily be leading the sustainability agenda in the boardroom and Scottish Parliament.
With support and funding from the Scottish Government, Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to sign up to the worldwide programme, and it has grown to a current annual involvement of over 840,000 young people and 64,700 teachers. More than 2,155 schools have been awarded their first coveted Green Flag in recognition of their work.
Eco-Schools Scotland was also the first in the world to fully integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into its programme, introducing the idea to pupils from a young age that we have global responsibility for the environment.
Since 2013, all Scottish pupils have had an entitlement to Learning for Sustainability, and Eco-Schools Scotland provides an ideal lens through which teachers can bring this into focus.
It also supports Curriculum for Excellence and encourages a pupil-led approach which develops teachers’ confidence to explore environmental issues from a different angle. The beauty of the programme’s adaptable framework is that it can be used in any school – nursery, primary, secondary, or additional support needs.
Every year pupils line up to take part in the initiatives linked to the programme – from reporting on an environmental issue through Young Reporters Scotland, to exploring and enjoying sustainable food by hosting a One Planet Picnic, or getting involved in a litter pick through the Clean Up Scotland campaign.
They are now looking forward to the next 25 years of Eco-Schools Scotland, with new exciting programmes of activity to get involved in, from Climate Ready Classrooms in Secondary Schools to professional learning courses supporting STEM skills through the topic of source-to-sea litter.
So why not join Eco-Schools Scotland in their quest to build a population of responsible people. People who would never throw litter, and to whom it is second nature to consider the impacts of the products they buy and the car and plane journeys they make.
We all have a responsibility to take steps to tackle climate change. And with limited time left to address the issue, Eco-Schools Scotland is playing a vital part. By aligning the environment and education, Eco-Schools Scotland can help to ensure that instead of changing behaviours of generations to come we will, in time, be following their example.