The Sustainable Schools Alliance was launched in March 2011, with support from Defra by a working party of 3 membership organistaions on behalf of more than 300 who responded to the initial consultation.

The working party was SEEd, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), and Think Global. The Alliance goal is to continue drive change in the education system so that all schools put sustainability at the heart of their curriculum, their campus and their community.

It followed on from 5 successful years of work by the then Department of Education working with the Sustainable Development Commission. The Alliance seeks to continue this work by providing support and resources that help to link agendas around education for sustainable development, development education and health and well-being work in schools.

The Alliance aims to provide a clear and compelling offer of support to all schools in the country, which will help them to put sustainability at the heart of what they do. The evidence for the benefits of Sustainable Schools is stronger than ever, but with the new government focusing on greater school freedom, it’s up to NGOs, networks, Local Authorities, schools and civil society organisations to support schools to pursue sustainability to continue this work building on the consultations and stakeholder processes leading to the launch

SSA brings together organisations from across sectors and covering all aspects of sustainable development including climate change, to help schools continue the excellent work already taking place and to encourage more schools to think ‘big’ about sustainability.

Schools Minister Lord Hill said: ‘Sustainability issues are an increasingly important part of our everyday life. That’s why I welcome the new Sustainable Schools Alliance, which will help make these issues an increasingly important part of school life. There are already some great schools working to get their local community involved in doing the simple things like growing their own vegetables and better energy management. We want to encourage more of this and I hope this Alliance will be the driving force behind that.’

DfE endorsed the Alliance in the Natural Environment White Paper (July 2011)

 ‘We also endorse the new Sustainable Schools Alliance, led by the National Children’s Bureau and Sustainability and Environmental Education, which was launched in March 2011. Its principal aim is to encourage every school in the country to put sustainability at the heart of its thinking. ‘


Dr Janice Lawson, SSA ex-Chair said: ‘Sustainable Schools prepare children for life, enabling them to think and respond critically and creatively to the challenges and opportunities in communities near and far. Evidence shows that putting sustainability at the heart of teaching and learning helps schools to meet their priorities, whether that’s educational attainment, nurturing young people’s interest in learning, improving students well-being and behaviour, promoting healthy lifestyles or saving costs.’

Achievements so far:

  • a mission and priority of tasks,
  • a database of interested organisations, plus a popular advisory committee
  • communication with schools,
  • annual National Sustainable Schools Conference run by SEEd, and NCB
  • policy for a run by SEEd and NCB
  • 3 SSA members sponsored the TES Sustainable Schools Award in 2012 (SEEd, NCB and WWF-UK)
  • SEEd launched the Sustainability Curriculum Project.

What is the SSA doing now? 

A management Board of 17 organisations has been formed to offer support and guidance to schools. The Board is supported by a part time SSA Officer and is supported by SEEd who act as the secretariat. The newly updated SSA website contains information on each of the different members and the support they can offer you. If you would like to be part of the Board and drive sustainability in schools forward please contact Ann Finlayson, or visit the SSA website for further information.