Flag initiatives for schools


A number of educational initiatives award flags to schools that successfully participate in their programmes. The individual programmes are sometimes known by the colour of the flag they award. The Green-Schools award is called the Green Flag, the Active School Flag is known as the Blue Flag and the Yellow Flag is given to schools that participate in the Diversity in Schools Programme. These awards are open to both primary schools and post-primary schools.

Green Flag

Green-Schools is the Irish branch of an international environmental education programme and award scheme known as Eco-Schools. It is designed to raise students' awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues through classroom study. Green-Schools is run by An Taisce, in conjunction with local authorities. The scheme offers a way to take environmental issues from the curriculum and apply them to the day-to-day running of the school, for example reduce litter, waste and fuel bills. This process helps students to recognise the importance of environmental issues and take them more seriously in their personal and home lives.

The Green-Schools award is given to schools that successfully complete the programme. A Green-Schools award is in the form of a Green Flag that can be flown outside the school or displayed in a foyer. Award winners also receive a certificate, a logo to display on headed notepaper and other publicity material.

You can read more in this FAQ about the Green-Schools programme.

Active School Flag

The Active School Flag (ASF) is awarded by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community. The initiative is open to primary and post primary schools, special schools and Youthreach centres.

This infographic (pdf) gives an overview of the ASF programme.

The Active School Flag is awarded to schools that:

  • Adhere to DES guidelines regarding physical education (PE) timetable provision for all students
  • Teach a broad and balanced PE curriculum
  • Inform and invite the whole school community to participate in the ASF process
  • Self-evaluate current provision in terms of PE, physical activity and community links
  • Plan and implement improvements for each of the above areas
  • Organise an Active School Week as part of the annual school calendar

The ASF is a whole-school process. It also helps schools to forge closer working links with parents, the local community and outside agencies to help promote physical activity and sport. It is non-competitive and schools should work to their own time frame to plan and implement improvements that will have an effect on their school community. Each of the steps of the ASF process is described in more detail in the ASF Guidelines Booklets.

An Active School Flag (Blue Flag) is awarded to schools that successfully complete the ASF process.

Yellow Flag

The Yellow Flag is part of the Diversity in Schools Programme. This programme provides a series of steps that brings issues of interculturalism, equality and diversity into the whole-school programme and allows schools to apply them to the running of the school. It also works with students, staff, management, parents and wider community groups so that issues of diversity and equality can be understood and taken outside the school setting. It can involve training for staff and setting up a diversity committee.

The steps involved in participating in the Yellow Flag programme are described in this quick guide.

If a school successfully participates in the programme, the school is awarded a Yellow Flag in recognition of its work in promoting diversity and inclusion. The award is publicised locally, and the school can fly the Yellow Flag and use the logo on its official correspondence.


A Green-Schools award must be renewed every 2 years.

Active School Flag must be renewed every 3 years.

The Yellow Flag must be renewed every 3 years.

Page edited: 16 July 2019