PROJECT DEFINITION

The Eco-Schools Programme is an international project developed by ADEAC (Association for Environmental and Consumer Education) and the FEE (Foundation for the Environmental Education). Participation in the programme is completely voluntary and open to public, private, and subsidised schools throughout Spain.

It has the purpose of promoting environmental education at the international level for sustainable development and the environmental management and certification of infant, primary, and secondary schools. It favours the engagement of the entire educational community (students, teachers and families) and of the municipal authorities, requiring their collaboration so that the ideas that arise in the centres can be put into practice inside and outside the school environment.

The Programme encourages students to develop an active and participative role in their schools and shows them how they can improve and benefit their local environment, especially in the basic themes of WATER, ENERGY, WASTE, RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, and FAIR TRADE. This way, it stimulates the habit of participating in decision-making processes in future generations, as well as the awareness of how important the environment is in their daily family and social lives.

OBJECTIVES

The overall vision and goals described can be achieved through the following objectives:

To promote environmental education for the sustainable development and the environmental quality management and certification of infant, primary, and secondary schools.
To increase the cooperative work and environmental awareness of the school community (students, teachers, parents, non-teaching staff, city council, local organisations, etc.), extending learning beyond the classroom.
To raise awareness and involve local authorities, requiring their contribution and active participation. To create active participation spaces in the school community as well as the integration of the environmental dimension in the decision-making process.
To encourage citizen participation in the sustainable development of the municipality, in line with Local Agenda 21.
To develop an International Network of Eco-Schools that fosters the exchange of ideas, projects, materials, experiences, good educational and environmental practices, etc.

METHODOLOGY AND STAGES

The involvement of schools in the Programme implies, with the exception of small national or regional differences, common elements or internationally agreed stages, which can be summarised in the following methodology:

ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE
The centres must create an Environmental Committee, elected in an autonomous and democratic manner, with representatives from the students, teachers, parents, management, administrative and maintenance staff, and may include representatives from municipal authorities or from any legal association that the Committee deems appropriate.
ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITING
Each Environmental Committee coordinates the execution of an analysis of the initial situation of the school and its surroundings in terms of the environment, by means of a questionnaire prepared by ADEAC, which is provided to the participating centres. This environmental audit makes it possible to detect and analyse the needs and subsequent environmental priorities, so that it can help in the subsequent preparation and determination of the action plans.
ACTION PLAN
After evaluating the results of the environmental audit, the Committee draws up an annual Action Plan, which addresses some of the three basic themes (WATER, WASTE and ENERGY), relating it to the school curriculum.

In the Action Plan, objectives, goals, and dates are established for the implementation of actions and initiatives that imply an improvement of the school and the social and environmental environment of the school.

CODE OF CONDUCT
At the same time as the Action Plan is defined, the Environmental Committee will establish a Code of Conduct, based on the proposals of the different classes or groups, which will be related to the Action Plan and the Basic Theme selected.

The Code of Conduct includes an action or behaviour carried out by the school’s students, leading to the fulfilment of the Action Plan’s objectives, a kind of Eco-School Decalogue.

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
An adequate communication policy must ensure that the work and results in the different centres are known by the school and local community, as well as by other centres in the Eco-Schools Network.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
At the same time as the Action Plan is being developed, students are involved in verifying its degree of compliance. Once the schools have developed their annual Action Plan, and if they are eligible for the award, they are evaluated by a Jury, called and made up by ADEAC members, with the collaboration of experts and technical staff from the Regional and Local Administrations, competent in Environmental Education and participants in the Programme.
GREEN FLAG
The participating centres will submit an annual report to ADEAC for evaluation. Each centre is regularly evaluated by analysing the reports submitted by the centres and/or by means of advisory visits. Participating centres that successfully develop the programme will be awarded a Diploma and a Green Flag for a period of three years. Our school obtained the Green Flag during the 2014/2015 academic year, which means recognition of the environmental policy followed in the centre.

METHODOLOGY AND STAGES

There are three basic work areas proposed by ADEAC as essential in all Eco-School projects: “Water”, “Waste”, and “Energy”. Some schools optionally include additional topics: “Biodiversity”, “Responsible consumption,” “International Cooperation,” and “Fair Trade.”