Press Releases 2014-2015

UWTSD Leads Research Project into Eco-Schools

20.03.2015

A senior lecturer at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has coordinated a research project evaluating the Eco-Schools Programme in Wales.

Eco-Schools is a programme that was established in 1994 in order to involve young people in the search for local solutions to the challenge of achieving sustainable development. For twenty years Eco-Schools has been giving children and young people the opportunity to create a more sustainable future by empowering them to take actions, big and small, in their schools today.

Eileen Merriman, a senior lecturer at UWTSD, led a research team in order to determine how to most effectively build on the success of the Eco-Schools programme and identify potential areas for improvement. The study, funded by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), considered how effectively it achieved the following:

  • provides an inclusive and whole school approach to Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship;
  • supports curriculum subject areas, learning and skills across the curriculum and a range of educational needs; and,
  • monitors the impact on changing attitudes towards the environment amongst pupils, teachers, governors, parents and the wider community; and,
  • monitors the impact on environmental outcomes in terms of reducing CO², energy use, minimising waste and reducing school costs.

In order to encourage pupils to engage with environmental and sustainable development issues, the programme provides a long-term structure for the environmental management of schools. The eight topic areas are Litter, Waste Minimisation, Transport, Healthy Living, Energy, Water, Developing School Grounds for Biodiversity, and Global Citizenship.

Importantly, pupils of all ages and abilities take key roles in decision-making and participation in order to reduce the environmental impact of the school, thus extending learning beyond the classroom and developing responsible citizenship attitudes at home, in their community and globally.

Much has been achieved since the programme commenced, and it is an effective means for delivering key Welsh Government agendas/policies, particularly Learning, Child Poverty, Sustainable Living, Climate Change, and Health and Wellbeing. It is evident that the programme has strong social, economic and environmental impact across Wales.

Of the 52 countries participating, Wales is one of the most successful Eco-Schools programmes internationally. Wales has 8% of the global total of Green Flags, and 430,000 children are in schools that are registered on the programme.

By comparing the programme in Wales with those in other countries, it is evident that the key to its success are the Project Officers who deliver direct support to schools as well as Green Flag and Platinum Award assessment site visits.

Eileen Merriman said:

“Two of the main recommendations were for Government to enable funding to sustain and potentially increase the number of Project Officers and the resources and training they can provide to schools; and to sustain and raise the profile of Eco-Schools within Government, demonstrating the success and potential for Eco-Schools to deliver the agenda for Learning, Sustainability, Health and Well-being, Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship, Tackling Poverty and Increasing Social Inclusion.”

Further Information

Sara Jones
PR and Communications Officer
07449 998 478
sara.f.jones@uwtsd.ac.uk