I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 66 together.
Green Schools (www.greenschoolsireland.org) is an international environment education programme and award scheme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) (www.fee.global). It is a long-term, whole-school programme based on a seven step process. Currently, approximately 4,000 primary, secondary and special schools in Ireland are participating in the programme.
The Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce, in partnership with Local Authorities, has been operating the Green Schools programme in Ireland since 1997. It is supported by a number of Government Departments, Agencies and corporate funders, with funding for the current year coming from a variety of sources as follows:
- Department of Transport/National Transport Authority (Green-Schools Travel Theme) – €1,650,000
- Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Green-Schools Marine Environment Theme) – €130,000
- Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (Green-Schools Core and Climate) – €145,000
- Local Authorities – €130,000
- Irish Water – €185,000
- National Parks and Wildlife Service (Biodiversity Theme) - €40,000
- Irish Aid/Department of Foreign Affairs (Citizenship Theme) - €60,000
- Textile Recycling Limited - €50,000
- Wrigley’s Limited - €25,000
- FEE - (Litter Less) - €20,000
The programme covers a wide range of thematic areas. Impact measurement indicates substantial positive changes in knowledge, behaviour and opinion leadership among the participants. There are also substantial direct and indirect cost savings for waste, energy, water, and transport fuel (€3million to €6 million per annum) schools, with an associated reduction in greenhouse gases.
Schools are supported by Green Schools and Local Authority staff, who undertake school visits to support implementation of the seven steps. There are also extensive information resources made available, as well as teacher and student training seminars and workshops, across all the thematic areas. The programme also allows for national and international best practice exchange, learning opportunities and conferences, as well as Green Schools awards and specialist training and ambassador programmes (e.g. the water ambassador programme with Irish Water).
Participating schools are encouraged to apply to relevant funding schemes, which consider both the school's requirements and the expected impacts of any funding proposal. For example, small scale grants are available from FEE of approximately €8,000 per annum for the delivery of the international Green-Schools "litter less" project. The Green Schools travel theme also gives grants to schools for cycle and scooter parking, and cycling training.