07 March 2022

Aberdeenshire schools recognised with Eco-Schools Green Flag Award status

Environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful has awarded a number of schools and nurseries in Aberdeenshire with an Eco-Schools Green Flag. The international award recognises nurseries and schools which have demonstrated a commitment to the Eco-Schools Scotland programme and over two years have engaged their whole school community in local climate action.

Alehousewells Primary School has achieved a Green Flag Award for the first time. The other Aberdeenshire Council schools to receive recognition are Monquhitter Primary School (which has held a Green Flag Award since 2015), Strathburn Primary School (a Green Flag Award winner since 2009), Keig Primary School (which has held a Green Flag Award since 2013), Mill O'Forest Primary School for the eighth time (since 2005), Aboyne Primary School (a Green Flag Award winner since 2008), Laurencekirk Primary School (since 2015) and Tough Primary School (which has held a Green Flag Award since 2010). Bracoden Primary School, Lochpots Primary School, Pitfour Primary School and New Machar Primary School all regained their Green Flags after a short break.

All the schools took part in a variety of fantastic litter-busting and climate action activities including litter picks, litter surveys, recycling and community clean ups. Many more Aberdeenshire schools participate in the Eco-Schools accredited programme and Green Flag status is the highest level of the award.

Through the Eco-Schools Scotland programme, Keep Scotland Beautiful aims to make action to tackle climate change and environmental awareness an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of schools, for both pupils and for staff. The programme provides a framework to engage the wider school community in climate action aligned with the purposes of Curriculum for Excellence and Learning for Sustainability.

To complete the Green Flag journey each school has a choice of ten topics to engage with, from climate action, to food and the environment, to litter, to energy. The schools also choose one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to link their Eco-Schools work to.

As part of Aberdeenshire Council’s Routemap to 2030 the ECS Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy has been developed with the help of pupils and staff across Education and Children’s Services. All schools are encouraged to participate in Eco-Schools and Climate Ready Classrooms, and work with young people to address the issues that matter to them.

Cllr Owen, Chair of Education and Children's Services (ECS) Committee commented: "It is brilliant to see a number of schools achieving or retaining their Green Flag status this year and many more fully engaged in the Eco Schools initiative. Well done for demonstrating your commitment to such an important cause and ensuring children and young people can lead the way and involve their local communities in achieving a low carbon future. We are committed to providing leadership and guidance to help all schools and services become more sustainable and everyone has a part to play.

“Across our school estate we are proud to continue to commit to the promotion of sustainability. Our schools are creating the next generation of innovative, inspirational environmentalists and informing local communities that as a school, they are forward-thinking and actively engaged in protecting our planet.”

A programme of training for school staff on all areas of Learning for Sustainability has been created and delivered by the council’s Learning for Sustainability subgroup. This subgroup is run by a group of practitioners who are keen to upskill staff in all aspects of Learning for Sustainability and share good practice. Complimentary training sessions are also on offer from the Montgomery Development Centre.

Vice Chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: "We all have a massive opportunity to make a difference when it comes to achieving ambitious targets to lower emissions, even if it seems small collectively it's big. Congratulations to all the settings proudly displaying their green flag and to all of the children, young people, colleagues and partners who have helped to make it happen."

Find out more about the ECS Climate Change & Sustainability Strategy and how to have your say, and view an interactive version of the strategy on ThingLink
Catherine Gee, Deputy Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “I’d like to congratulate the Eco-Committee, pupils and staff at each of these schools, who have worked so hard to play their part in combatting climate change and achieve their Green Flag Award.  This is particularly impressive during a time of unprecedented adjustment and change to education due to the pandemic and is testament to the resilience and creativity of both pupils and educators.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful is committed to supporting all our children, young people and educators through our climate action schools activities to develop the capacities, skills and attributes required to protect our planet and work towards our goal of a Net Zero future.”

More information about the world’s largest sustainable schools programme and
Eco-Schools Scotland can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/eco-schools

For more information about youth participation in Aberdeenshire, visit: https://www.girfec-aberdeenshire.org/home/children-and-young-people/get-involved-youth-participation-and-engagement-in-aberdeenshire/