Since Eco-Schools is a whole school involving process, try and get maximum involvement from the school management, principal, teachers, students, administration staff, ancillary staff, parents, local authority representative, local environmental organization representative, local business and maybe local NGOs involved in community activities.
Form your Eco-Committee with representation from all or most of the above, if possible. Ideally, the wider the representation, the larger will be your reach, and greater the achievements. Maximum representation must be from the student community. Try and keep the committee size manageable. If your school size is very big (more than 500 students), try and form sub-committees. For e.g. you can have sub-committees to look after each of the Eco-Schools themes. Representatives from each of the sub-committees can be a member of the main Eco-Committee.
• Students may put themselves forward to be a part of a committee; the Eco-schools coordinator teacher can then decide who should be selected
• Students can put themselves forward for specific roles in the Eco-Committee; they can be selected through a voting process by the committee members
• Try and get representation from every grade or class, depending on your school strength.
• When the numbers are high in a school, try and form more sub-committees with representation in the main committee
• You can decide on the term period for every committee member. Ensure most students get the opportunity to be a part of the committee
• Let the members feel special being in the Eco-Committee
Key Committee responsibilities
Whatever form your Committee takes, it must fulfil the purposes listed below and it must include the greatest strength of pupils amongst its members:
• Ensure that the whole school is aware of the existence of the Eco-Schools programme and establish a robust communication structure to ensure regular updates.
• Take the lead in carrying out the initial and subsequent Environmental Reviews.
• Ensure that all sectors of the school community (especially pupils) are represented in the decision-making process.
• Provide a link between pupils, teachers, senior management and the whole school community. One committee member can be nominated as the point of contact for anyone who wishes to communicate with the Eco-Committee outside of meeting hours
• List every member and assign a role for everyone
• Meet as frequently as possible, and no less than 8 meetings in an academic year
• Remember to record every meeting so that you are able to reflect on what you have achieved, where improvements are needed and what needs to be done more
• Every meeting report must be signed off by the committee head
• Every meeting must be chaired by a student member
Recording and communicating Committee decisions
Committees should keep records of their decisions in the form of minutes. These should be shared at school management meetings, with all classes/year groups and displayed on the Eco-Schools notice board. Key issues could be raised at school assemblies and with the wider community when possible. Wherever possible, it is recommended that pupils carry out the minuting process and the subsequent dissemination thereof.