There are many whole school or whole institution approaches – some are awards, some are based on standards. The SEEd model is based on a developmental learning model made transparent for students and staff alike, and does not rely on anyone being an expert.

SEEd has been at the forefront of promoting whole institution approaches to Learning for Sustainability (LfS) for over 20 years, leading alliances to support this work and helping institutions to adapt their own frameworks in the UK, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Columbia, Cyprus, Japan, Brazil, and Greece.

Evidence shows that whole school approaches to learning for sustainability deliver increased student engagement, better learning outcomes across all subjects, more motivated students, support for the school from the wider community, and a sustained programme even with staff turnover.

Use our free survey, audit tool, and step-by-step instructions on this page to devise your own whole institution action plan.

Whole Institution Approach Audit Tool

SEEd’s model is a practical, tested approach that models a learning approach to sustainability (not being perfect!) and enables year-on-year improvement. This process will help you explore new ways of thinking that involves the whole community surrounding your school, or organisation, to effect a culture change towards sustainability. Our whole institution approach framework covers five domains: governance, curriculum, facilities, community and stakeholders, research & action learning. The process is flexible, so you can utilise existing development plans, other programmes or tools you like as part of this model.

How to get started

To give you a baseline of understanding/attitudes to sustainability in your organisation, ask all stakeholders to complete our online attitudinal survey. The survey is part of the SEEd Youth Listening Project and over 3000 young people and adults have already completed it. SEEd members can request a code to be used on the survey to enable us to send back a data report of all the responses from your organisation.

  1. Register using the form below to download the three documents you will need to prepare for the audit: Backgrounder, Outline Framework, and the Audit Questions.
  2. Identify who in your organisation will have the answers to some of the questions in the audit. Work with members of your organisation individually, or in a meeting, to collectively answer the questions.
  3. Now go online and complete the Audit Survey using the answers collected in step 2. SEEd members can request free mentoring plus a report comparing their audit data to other organisations that have taken part.
  4. Use your audit to develop an action plan for the year ahead. Engage everyone! Use your school development or institutional development plan if you have one in place.
  5. Re-do the audit and revise your action plan year-on-year. Keep up the communication between stakeholders. Decide what has gone well and what could be improved.
  6. Celebrate your achievements! Every step towards more sustainable practice plays its part in transforming the whole institution and helps young people learn how to live and work sustainably. Please do share your leaning with us at

Register to receive our Whole Institution Approach documents

You can access the Backgrounder, Outline Framework and Audit Questions documents by completing the short online form below. Thank you

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