CHILDREN at Forest schools are being given the chance to learn more about the environment and carry forward their own ideas on how to protect it thanks to a new council fund.

The fund, which launched this week, will pay for ten local primary schools to sign up to an internationally recognised education programme, Eco-Schools.

The programme encourages children to get involved in exploring environmental topics - such as waste, energy, litter and pollution - whilst “empowering them to make positive changes”.

The council has pledged to cover the £250 registration fee, with schools invited to apply this month.

The successful schools will also receive an additional £100 each to put towards equipment to help them achieve the 7-steps of the Eco-Schools programme, as they work towards the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ accreditation.

Councillor Jackie Fraser, Cabinet Member for Environment at Forest of Dean District Council, said: “We’re really excited about offering this new opportunity to our local schools and their students.

"Young people in particular will be left with the consequences of climate change, biodiversity loss, and the pollution of our planet so it’s important they’re involved early on about understanding the impacts but equally that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge by which they can help change the environment around them for the better.

“Eco-Schools is a well-established programme with a long history of educating pupils about a wide-range of environmental issues, giving them the confidence to put forward their suggestions and lead on implementing ideas by working with their classmates and across year groups.

"Projects could include setting up an eco club, promoting a regular walk to school day or creating a wildlife garden, but ultimately what pupils decide to do is up to them. 

“Currently 15 schools in our district have achieved the prestigious Green Flag award but we would love to see these numbers boosted to accelerate the numbers of children getting involved and schools getting accredited.

"To help schools participate we’re also offering the support of our environmental officers, based here at the council, to provide additional mentoring should they need it.”

The ten topics covered under the Eco-Schools programme are: waste, litter, marine, global citizenship, biodiversity, energy, healthy living, water, transport and school grounds.

Administered by the Keep Britain Tidy charity, Eco-Schools is flagged as the world’s largest schools’ environmental programme.

Forest of Dean primary schools wishing to apply for the Eco-Schools fund should contact: [email protected]. The closing date for applications is 22 September. 

Applications for the national Eco-Schools programme opens on 11 September: