Extending communities of practice: a partnership model for sustainable schools

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Eco Schools was established in 1994 following the UN Earth Summit in 1992 and the publication of the outcome document, Agenda 21. This began a sustainable approach to school management, with the implementation of an ISO-based Environmental Management System (EMS). At this time, EMSs were also beginning to be used formally in the industrial sector and were proving quite effective. However, in the school sector, there were many challenges including the technical aspects of facilities management and also the added necessity of addressing curriculum requirements. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was also an outcome theme of the UN Earth Summit, and to date, the literature and national documents are still citing challenges facing teachers in the implementation of effective ESD. This paper proposes a conceptual model of a triadic partnership between school Communities of Practice, higher education institutions and local industry, with the aim of facilitating a sustainable approach in schools, while simultaneously supporting teachers to embed ESD principles in the curriculum, thereby increasing the sustainability literacy of both current and future generations.

Original languageEnglish (Ireland)
Pages (from-to)1745-1762
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019


  • Community of practice
  • Continuing professional development
  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Environmental Management System
  • Partnerships
  • Sustainable schools


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