Program background

Find out about Sustainable Schools NSW and our parent organisation, Environmental Education NSW


Sue Martin talks education for sustainability with group

In 2003, the original NSW Sustainable Schools program was started as a pilot program by the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) and the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation. This government program supported the implementation of the Environmental Education Policy for Schools (2001, DET).  Sustainable Schools became part of the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI), a national partnership program between the Federal and State governments.

In NSW, the Sustainable Schools program delivery initially focussed on implementing School Environment Management Plans (SEMP) and adopted a systems based program, ensuring both management and teaching practises where considered. As the program developed it also promoted holistic Education for Sustainability principles, developing resources on student leadership and promoting an action learning approach. The NSW Government delivered the Sustainable Schools program in various forms for 14 years.

In 2017, the Sustainable School program was transitioned to the Australian Association for Environmental Education NSW Chapter (EE NSW). We wanted to continue the legacy of the Sustainable Schools program, to keep hold of the valuable knowledge and concerted efforts of many NSW environmental educators. 

Since EE NSW took over management of Sustainable Schools NSW  our focus has been on supporting the environmental education community in NSW to prioritise and promote sustainability education within school communities and their governing bodies.

Environmental Education NSW (EE NSW) is the peak body for environmental education professionals in NSW.

The non-profit, non government organisation is the state chapter of the Australian Association of Environmental Education (AAEE), the national peak professional association for environmental educators in Australia.

EE NSW has worked collaboratively to promote education for sustainability in NSW since 1976.

Since EE NSW took over management of Sustainable Schools NSW, the initiative has become a community of environmental educators enabling schools to connect, collaborate and inspire a sustainable future.

Sustainable Schools NSW envisions our schools leading the transformation to a sustainable future for all.

Our staff, volunteers and partner organisations work collaboratively to:

  • promote and amplify school sustainability initiatives through our regular communications and website
  • build alliances between environmental educators who are delivering school education
  • link schools with people, organisations and businesses that provide sustainability education, through our Sustainability Connect directory
  • support regional networks of sustainability educators
  • support the ongoing professional development of school environmental educators
  • participate as active members of a range of environmental education advisory groups
  • research and understand needs and opportunities for school sustainability in NSW.