The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development started in 2005 and runs to 2014. The lead agency UNESCO seeks to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning in order to address social, economic, cultural and environmental problems faced in the 21st century. In so doing this should encompass populations of animals and plants, ecosystems, natural resources integrating concerns such as poverty, human rights, gender equality, education for all, health, human security and intercultural dialogue.


The Scottish government’s Sustainable Development Strategy is in line with this and the aim of the Eco Policy of The James Young High School is to engage with these ideas.

In order to do this the school is following the guidelines of the Eco-Schools (Scotland) programme.

To that end:

There is an eco committee with representatives from all areas of the school.

There is an eco code.

An annual environmental review is carried out.

An action plan is drawn up for each year.

Topics from the recommended list are chosen.

A curricular review is undertaken.

The work in each area is evaluated.

The topics covered for the First Green Flag were:

  • Litter
  • Energy
  • Waste minimisation

For the second Green Flag we added:

  • Transport
  • Health and Well Being

For the Third Green Flag we added:

  • School Ground
  • Sustaining Our World

Throughout the process the pupils are learning about all of the above in a wide range of subjects. They have to produce presentations to deliver at assemblies, parents’ evenings etc. They may also have to write to individuals outwith the school and West Lothian. By the nature of the topic they are themselves becoming responsible citizens and encouraging others to do likewise. As a result the programme addresses many of the aspects of a Curriculum for Excellence.

Having gained our 3rd Green Flag in September 2012, we are now working towards our 4th covering:

  • Litter
  • Biodiversity
  • Food and the Environment