Eco-Schools FAQs


Any type of school can participate in the Eco-Schools programme. This includes ECE’s, primary schools, secondary schools, and special schools.

There is no cost to register with the Eco-Schools programme.

Achieving an Eco-Schools Green Flag is designed to be completed within one academic year, however, how quickly you achieve Green Flag accreditation is up to your Eco-Committee. Schools are eligible to apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag when they have addressed at least three of our Twelve Topics (two chosen by your Eco-Committee, plus Litter) and completed each of the Seven Steps.

If your school can only tackle one topic in a school year, you can continue your first topic in year two and add to it a second topic, and then add a third topic in year three, which will make your school eligible for an Eco-Schools Green Flag at that time! If you miss the application deadline simply submit the following year using the previous year’s Eco-Schools work as evidence.

When schools achieve Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation they receive a letter, certificate and an internationally recognised Eco-Schools Green Flag! Schools will also be able to access the Eco-Schools logo, which they can use on the school website, letterhead, email signatures etc.

Eco-Schools is the world’s largest environmental education programme with many years of experience in supporting schools across the globe. As a result, the programme is flexible in nature enabling schools to shape their own projects rather than be dictated to. 

The global nature of the programme also allows for international collaboration between schools and the Green Flag itself is internationally recognised! 

Another key distinguishing feature of this programme is the cost. Getting involved is FREE. This means we can bring environmental education to all children across Aotearoa regardless of their school’s circumstances. 

Environmental review

Just skip it and move on. It may mean you should think about working on this topic in the future.

Don’t worry about gaps in your Environmental Review, the more gaps the more opportunities you have to improve your school!

Action Plan

We recommend you use the findings of your Environmental Review to choose the topics to focus on, but it’s entirely up to the Eco-Committee to decide. If they have brilliant ideas for a topic your school has already performed well on, they are free to choose that topic.

Your projects can be as big or as small as you choose. For example, we don’t expect all our Eco-Schools to immediately invest in solar panels and a wind turbine – an action for a first Green Flag could be as simple as appointing light monitors and displaying posters by light switches to remind people to turn the light off when not in use.

We request evidence for each of the three topics in your Action Plan. This includes the starting point (baseline data) in this topic BEFORE you started your project/s, how you measured progress (e.g. number of plants planted, litter or waste counts) and the comparative results.

Yes, failure is a fundamental part of learning. As long as you are trying to make a difference and can provide evidence that you have implemented the project, then it counts towards your Eco-Schools Green Flag.

You can also apply for an Eco-Schools Green Flag Award even if a project from your Action Plan is incomplete – it is evidence of the Seven Steps that we are looking for.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful has a number of environmental education programmes that your school could participate in as part of your Eco-Schools work. As well as our annual Clean Up Week held each spring, which we provides a great opportunity to implement a meaningful (and measurable) Community Action Day, we also have other community led programmes, that depending on your topics, are educational, fun, and easy to get involved with. Find out more about our school programmes here.

Curriculum Links

No, if you want to create lesson plans based on the Eco-Schools programme, brilliant, the programme lends itself well to this, however, any work linking to any of our Twelve Topics is fine.

No, it can be from any of our Twelve Topics.


You can measure the results of your actions in a variety of ways. Some of our suggestions include: before and after photographs, surveys, charts, tables, reports or meter readings. Any way that you can generate numerical data that can then be put into graphs and charts is the most straightforward way.


One of the best ways of involving the whole school is to get involved in one of the many environmentally-friendly events that happen every academic year. Your commitment to Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Clean Up Week, which happens every spring, gives you the perfect opportunity to involve the whole school. It is entirely up to your school and Eco-Committee to choose which events to get involved in based on the topics you have picked for your Action Plan.


It doesn’t have to be, you may decide on your Eco-Code when creating your Action Plan. We list the Eco-Code as the final step because it should reflect the work your Eco-Committee has carried out to achieve Eco-Schools Green Flag status – it is your celebration statement!