Eco-Schools Northern Ireland reach landmark 1000th Green Flag in record breaking year

Press Release by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Northern Ireland schools continue to excel in the international Eco-Schools programme, achieving a record number of Green Flag awards for the 6th consecutive year and awarding their 1000th Green Flag.

Eco-Schools is the world's leading environmental education programme. It is a pupil-led initiative with the aim to make environmental awareness and practical action an intrinsic part of school life.

Eco-Schools is operated by environmental charity, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, which is dedicated to inspiring everyone to help make Northern Ireland a cleaner, greener and healthier place in which to live. The programme which has gone from strength-to-strength in recent years is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

This year marked a landmark moment when Walker Memorial Primary School, Dungannon, received their first Green Flag and Northern Ireland’s 1000th Green Flag.

Diane Lockhart, Eco-Coordinator at Walker Memorial Primary School said: “The children were totally delighted that we got the 1000th Green Flag. All pupils are very involved with the areas of the Eco-Committee’s action plan it has brought these areas of learning alive.  Pupils are highly motivated, inspired and focused to partake in lessons related to Eco-Schools.  The programme provides pupils with another avenue of learning, those who are more practical and creative thrive on being involved in identifying the needs of the school and sharing their ideas for future action.” 

Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful added: 

With support from the Department, Local Councils and many other partners, Eco-Schools is engaging our young people, who will be the next generation of business and political leaders, in developing eco-friendly behaviours that also help our economy. The programme is growing every year with more and more schools and young people making a real, tangible and positive impact on our environment through saving energy, reducing waste, picking up litter, travelling sustainably, providing biodiversity habitats and much more. Congratulations to Walker Memorial and all our schools who have achieved their Green Flag award; together we have reached this landmark 1000th Green Flag.’


This school year 149 schools achieved the prestigious, internationally recognised Green Flag award in recognition of the excellent progress they have been making in protecting the environment and moving towards a more sustainable future. The first Green Flag in the world was awarded to Downpatrick Nursery School in 1994. Since then the programme has consistently grown. There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of schools achieving the award for the 7th year in a row - increasing from 55 in 2010/11 to 97 in 2011/12; 103 in 2012/13; 114 in 2013/14; 128 in 2014/15; 136 in 2015/16 and now 149 in 2016/17.

Once registered on the programme schools work through a simple seven-step process resulting in the programme becoming central to the school's ethos. Schools can choose from ten eco-topics ranging from litter and waste to climate change, biodiversity, healthy living and transport to name a few. Schools renew their Green Flag every 2 years.

Eco-Schools is a free-to-enter programme that has real benefits for pupils, teachers and the school budget!  The programme is delivered to schools throughout Northern Ireland in partnership with a range delivery partners including DAERA and most Councils. To learn more please visit:


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Photo Captions:

Photo 10: Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful and Mid Ulster Council were delighted to visit Walker Memorial Primary School to celebrate their Eco-Schools success and award the 1000th Green Flag for Northern Ireland. Pictured back are L-R: Diane Lockhart, Eco-Coordinator Walker Memorial; John Murtagh, Environmental Project Officer Mid Ulster Council; Ruth Van Ry, Eco-Schools Coordinator Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful. Pupils L-R: Sarah Hawe, Jake Sinnamon, Chloe Lewis, Katelyn Miller, Max Patterson, Jake Devlin and Jayden Williamson

Photo 8: Pupils from Walker Memorial Primary School, Dungannon, were delighted to be awarded their first Eco-Schools Green Flag which was the 1000th Green Flag awarded in Northern Ireland for outstanding environmental action. Pupils from the Eco-Committee pictured are back L-R: Jayden Williamson, Jake Sinnamon, Jake Devlin, Sarah Hawe, Chloe Lewis; front L-R: Katelyn Miller and Max Patterson.


Notes to Editors

Media enquiries to: Ruth Van Ry, Eco-Schools Coordinator, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful.   

Tel: 028 9073 6920



About Eco-Schools/Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

  • Eco-Schools is a programme for environmental management, certification and sustainable development education for schools. Eco-Schools was developed in 1994 on the basis of the need for involving young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges at the local level, as identified at the UN Conference on Environment and Development of 1992. The Programme was initiated by Member organisations of the Foundation for Environmental Education with the support of the European Commission.
  • In Northern Ireland, the Eco-Schools Programme is operated by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an environmental charity. The programme is supported by a wide range of partners.
  • Eco-Schools share the same methodology and concept across 64 participating countries and with over 17,500,000 participating students, and are identified by the Eco-Schools logo and Green Flag. The Eco-Schools Green Flag is a recognised and respected eco-label for environmental education and performance, and is awarded to schools meeting the international standard. Participating countries include, for example: Australia, Brazil, China, most of Europe, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, the USA and Zanzibar.
  •  Northern Ireland was the first country in the world to award a Green Flag to one of its schools. Visit for further information.
  • Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, an anti-litter charity, is the province’s leading authority on litter issues, and provides a unique service to communities, businesses, councils and schools throughout Northern Ireland. 
  • Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful operates the Blue Flag for beaches and marinas, Seaside and Green Coast Awards, Young Reporters on the Environment, TIDY Business, The BIG Spring Clean, Adopt A Spot and Live Here Love Here as well as the Borough Cleanliness Survey, Northern Ireland Environmental Quality Forum, and the Eco-Schools Programme.