Your Action Plan
The Action Plan is core to your work as an Eco-School and should be developed using the results of your Environmental Review. Whether your school is at Bronze, Silver or Green Flag level, your Action Plan must be shared with the whole school community.
The Action Plan is intended to be a working document and should therefore be reviewed, revised and amended regularly.
A template and an example of a completed Action Plan are available for download in our Programme Materials area.
To gain your first Green Flag, a school needs to have concentrated on at least three Eco-Schools topics and this must be reflected in the action plan. Please note that Energy is now a compulsory topic.
Linking to the Eco-Schools Award levels
At Bronze level: Your Action Plan should list the actions you’re going to take to improve your environmental performance, an indication of when you’ll undertake these actions and who’s responsible for achieving these actions.
At Silver and Green Flag level: The range of objectives in your Action Plan should be wider and accompanied with a detailed timescale for achieving each step.
Developing an Action Plan
Look at the results of your Environmental Review. Pick out which of the Eco-Schools nine topics you want to tackle, e.g.school grounds, energy, water, etc.
Decide what action you can take to improve these issues. For example, if you want to improve your energy and water, look at the utility bills, meter readings, number of lights left on, number of dripping taps. For school grounds, visit the Big Wildlife Garden programme for lots of ideas to help you create a wonderful space to attract wildlife and measure your success by achieving garden awards. For other topics or to cover a range of topics, you may wish to develop a Green Procurement policy. Development of a green procurement policy will become compulsory from January 2013.
Decide what your measure of success will be. Make sure the action you take is something that you can measure. For example, if you decide to tackle energy, your measure could be looking for a reduction in the school energy bills. You could start by registering with www.jointhepod.org and completing one of their energy activities - all of which are designed to help you track and measure the savings you make. All Green Flag Eco-Schools (that are eligible) are required to provide their Display Energy Certificate (DEC) which is an excellent measure to include in your Action Plan.
Decide timescales for each action. Do you want to achieve your target in a few weeks, by the end of the term/year, or is it longer term?
Assign people to be responsible for each action. This could be pupils, staff or anyone else within the school community.
Complete your Action Plan. Do not be over-ambitious in the targets you set. Failing to meet targets or deadlines can be demotivating. Make sure that the whole school is involved in delivering your actions and that the headteacher supports your Action Plan.
If your Environmental Review has suggested a large number of issues to address, don’t feel you have to achieve them all at once – prioritise them, and divide the targets into short, medium and long term. It’s much better to go forward in small steps and celebrate success frequently. However remember how many topics you must work on for your current Green Flag application.
How the Pod can help
All of the resources and activities on www.jointhepod.org have been accredited by Eco-Schools England and can be used to deliver aspects of your Action Plan. The Pod's resources currently cover the energy, waste, water, transport and biodiversity topics. They also have a new Climate Science area which can help with a number of Eco-Schools topics.
With energy as a compulsory topic, the Pod's Switch-Off Fortnight Campaign and relating energy activities are the perfect way to complete one of the topics required for the Green Flag Application.
Why not download the Pod's Year Planner and plan your school activities around upcoming Pod campaigns and national environmental awareness days and events.
Schools can use the Pod's Schools Area to upload photos and blog about the progress of their activities.
We've developed our Action Plan...what next?
Once you've developed your Action Plan you can start thinking about how you are going to get the rest of the school and local community on board and involved with your Eco-Schools activities.
Find out more about how to get the whole school and community informed and involved with your Eco-Schools plans.
You can start thinking about how the topics you have chosen to focus on in your Action Plan can link into the curriculum.
Find out more about linking Eco-Schools work into the curriculum.
It is also key to make sure the Eco-Committee considers how to measure and evaluate the projects and activities within the Action Plan. That way you can not only monitor your progression through the Eco-Schools programme, but can celebrate and shout about your achievements and successes too.
Find out more about monitoring and evaluating your Eco-Schools work.