Dumfries and Galloway has an excellent record with Eco
Schools. This region was the first to achieve full registration, which means all of the 124 schools in the
region are registered to take part in Eco Schools. The programme was developed and managed by Solway Heritage, initially
with funding from the Leader+ programme but latterly supported by Determined to Succeed and has been housed within the
Council’s Education and Community Services Department.
In Dumfries and Galloway, Sustainable Development Education is being
developed through the model of the Eco Schools Programme. This allows the schools to develop activities linked to issues
that affect their school, local area and community. Eco Schools provides a structured approach to environmental activity
and awareness that also allows pupils to take ownership of their actions and receive an international certification for activities
they have undertaken.
The Eco Schools Programme is based on a business model for environmental
awareness called ISO1400 and is being undertaken by schools around the globe with Scotland leading the way in terms of awards
and participation. Through Eco Schools, pupils are given the opportunity to make decisions, hold meetings which they
organise, chair and minute and also enlist adult assistance with major projects. Examples of projects undertaken by
Eco Schools Committees range from:
- School Composting Projects linked to the Dumfries and Galloway Home Composting
- Monitoring and encouraging paper recycling in their school
- Monitoring and recording of waste produced by the school and undertaking
waste reduction measures
- Recycling projects which can also generate an income for the group
- Biodiversity projects such as bird watching, bird box cameras and squirrel
- Large and small scale playground improvements for biodiversity, active learning
- School Travel Plans and increased cycling and walking within school staff
Pupils undertake these activities after auditing their school within the eight
Eco Schools Topic areas. From this they produce an action plan detailing timescale, responsibility and financial
implications for their planned action. This reflects the process undertaken by business, schools and indeed local authority
to build action plans for activity.
The Eco Schools Model and Sustainable Development Education as a whole makes
provision for pupils to become more environmentally aware. In a world of increasing environmental pressure sustainable
development is at the forefront of both education economic planning. Indeed the Local Plan for Dumfries and Galloway
details the need for sustainable development of tourism and local industry, a theme promoted by the Eco Schools Programme
which allows pupils to examine local landscape use, fair trade and food miles along with resource consumption.