Sustainable School Indicators

Sustainable School Indicators

For each one of the above mentioned domains the Sustainable School Award has introduced indicators (quality criteria), which are used to make comparisons among the schools participating in the project. Indicators are becoming one of the most commonly applied and promoted evaluation strategies in sustainable development and ESD (Reid, Nikel, and Scott, 2006). The SSA indicators are based to an extent on the set of “sustainable development indicators” of the UN (UNESCO, 1997, Breiting et al, 2005), and have taken into account the “Indicators for Education for Sustainable Development” developed by the UNECE (2007, 2009). Similar approaches are suggested by UNESCO (UNESCO Lens, 2010) It encourages schools to undertake an audit to identify areas for improvement in key areas of ESD that include curriculum aspects of ESD, cultural aspects of ESD, environmental aspects of ESD, and economic aspects of ESD. This can help schools to set targets for change and improvement. As Mogensen and Schnack, state (2010) “Indicators cannot be seen as a mechanism that aims to prescribe and test the ‘correct’ content (knowledge, skills and values) in ESD, but rather must be formed in ways that stimulate and qualify students to become future citizens, who can make sound judgments, think critically and independently, and who can and will play an active role”. The same authors state that quality criteria (or indicators) are considered starting points for reflection. The literature may indicate a variety of indicators (Morgensen & Mayer, 2005, DfES National Framework2 for Sustainable Schools 2007, Living Sustainably, 2009), but all can come under and included in the three fields-domains mentioned above.

The list of the Sustainable School Indicators

Sustainable School Indicators

A. Pedagogical Indicators

1. Incorporation of issues related to sustainable development in school subjects (e.g. environmental education, health education, acquaintance with other cultures, gender card, human rights, cultural heritage, culture, etc) per cent (%). Max. Score 40.
2. Total number of teaching hours per subject, employing teamwork teaching approaches, per cent (%).Max. Score 40.
3.Frequency of computer based learning activities in the classroom and use of interactive whiteboard, for teaching all subjects, used to develop cooperation skills, critical and creative thinking to solve problematic situations. Max. Score 20.
4.Number of educational visits, in order to improve the environmental, social, cultural awareness of pupils. Max. Score 10.
5.Number of events (cultural, environmental, etc.) organized by the school in collaboration with pupils and teachers, for pupils, parents or local community members. Max. Score 15.
6.Number of optional school activities and projects (e.g. Environmental, Health Education, Cultural Education, Comenius, e-Twining, pupil competitions, etc.) implemented in school. Max. Score 15.
7.Number of punishments imposed to pupils. Max. Score 5.
8.Percentage of pupils-students who left school early (before the end of October). Max. Score 8.


B. Social and Organizational Indicators

1. Does the school implement a school Sustainable Management Plan (S.M.P.) and School’s Activity Program (S.A.P.)? Max. Score 10
2.Part of the total number of school teachers (%) who are actively involved in Sustainable Management Plan (S.M.P.). Max. Score 20
3.Percentage of pupils who are actively involved in the Sustainable Management Plan (S.M.P.). Max. Score 20
4.Total hours of professional development seminars attended by school teachers on issues related to education for sustainability, new teaching approaches, crisis management, conflict management, developing decision making skills, etc. Max. Score 20
5.Total hours of professional development seminars attended by the school director on the same topics. Max. Score 20
6.Number of special teacher meetings (other than mandatory), on teaching and learning approaches, to plan joint projects related to education for sustainability, developing strategies to link the school with the local and internationalcommunity, reflection on the course of the school and the achievement of the school objectives. Max. Score 20
7.Number of meetings of the 15-member pupil council- board on issues relating to environmental management of the school, teaching methods, the general conditions for learning and safety, etc. Max. Score 10
8.Number of pupils’ general assemblies with the same topics as above. Max. Score 10
9. Has the school undergone an aesthetic improvement by students in collaboration with teachers, parents, municipality, etc. Max. Score 10
10.Number of School Councils that have been convened in order to inform the school community, to reflect on and make decisions the on environmental management of the school building, methods of teaching and learning methods and activities, relations with the local and international community. Max. Score 10
11.Number of social and pro-environmental actions of school (e.g. planting trees, participating in social fundraising, taking care of animals, etc.). Max. Score 20
12. Number of teaching hours on issues like sustainability, education and environmental awareness etc, given by out of school specialists who visited the school. Max. Score 10
13.Number of collaborations meetings with the local school activities adviser-consultant. Max. Score 10
14. Members of the Parents’ Association who voted in the last election or was present in the last general assembly (%).Max. Score 5
15.Number of visits to the website of the school during the school year. Max. Score 5
16.Does the school canteen offer organic food to pupils? Max. Score 15

C. Environmental-Economic-Technical Indicators

1. Percentage of pupils going to school on public transportation, bike / private car/ feet. Max. Score 10
2.Weight of recyclable materials (paper, glass, metal, plastic) that were recovered per pupil and teacher. Max. Score 20
3.Weight of waste going to landfill, per pupil and teacher. Max. Score 10
4.Number of copier paper sheets per student and teacher. Max. Score 8
5.Water consumption in cubic meters of water per pupil and teacher. Max. Score 8
6. Does the school employ a system for storage and use of rainwater? Max. Score 5

7.Electricity consumption in kilowatt-hours per pupil and teacher. Max. Score 8
8. Does the school use environment-friendly detergents for cleaning? Max. Score 5
9.Weigh of batteries, lamps and electric-electronic devices given for recycling per pupil and teacher. Max. Score 20
10. Is the central heating system checked annually for compliance with Eco Audit? Max. Score 5
11.Consumption of oil or natural gas for heating, per pupil and teacher (lt). Max. Score 20
12.Is the school building insulated (double glazing etc)? Max. Score 5
13. Power of photovoltaic systems available in school. Max. Score 20
14.Does the school own a vegetable garden, flower garden or a roof garden? Max. Score 10
15.Number of plants and trees (in pots or in soil) across the surface of the school (included the courtyard). . Max. Score 20
16. Does the school have composting systems? Max. Score 10

Each indicator receives a value, including a maximum score (see Annex 1) that summed up with the rest of the indicators to give the overall score of the school. The scoring of the indicators is designed to give greater or lesser weight to some of them.  For example, it gives less weight to the existence of solar panels on the roof of the school and greater weight the reduction of electricity consumption. The SSA receives as candidates all types of schools: nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, vocational schools, special schools. 

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