How AuSSI works

AuSSI involves an action learning cycle and a whole school approach, both of which engage all members of the school community and ensure that sustainability is embedded in all aspects of the school's operations and management.

Action learning cycle

Action learning cycle

Action learning cycle


An AuSSI school typically engaged in an action learning cycle involves:

  • making a whole school commitment to become more sustainable
  • auditing and collecting baseline data on its use of resources, its management of facilities and grounds and its approaches to teaching and learning
  • developing an action plan, including targets (often called a School Environmental Management Plan)
  • actively implementing, monitoring and evaluating its plan
  • critically reflecting on progress and revising plans for the future.

Whole school approach

Effective education for sustainability  is not just a curriculum issue. It requires the involvement of the whole school and pervades all aspects of the school operations, curriculum, teaching and learning, physical surroundings and relationships with the local community. Experience has shown that the AuSSI vision can be best achieved when the whole school and the local community are engaged.

Implementing AuSSI in schools requires the development of a shared vision, goals and objectives. These form the basis of the whole school approach and become a core feature of an AuSSI school's ethos.

A framework for environmental education sustainability

A whole school approach to education for sustainability emerges from the school vision and is articulated in all facets of school life in:

  • the way the school is organised and operates
  • building design (within the limitations of existing structures)
  • the development and management of school grounds
  • improved management of resources (water, energy, products and materials)
  • enhanced connections between the school, its community and other educational institutions
  • the conservation and protection of natural and heritage values in the school buildings and grounds
  • reorientation of the curriculum and teaching and learning methods towards sustainability.

For more information on the whole school approach, see:


AuSSI supports schools in their growth from awareness through to leadership in education for sustainability and sustainable living. It fosters school ownership and empowerment and focuses on student involvement, leadership and learning.

The Australian Government provides support to AuSSI partners through national coordination facilitation and funding of networks. Support is provided to AuSSI schools by state and territory governments including:

  • best practice and quality curriculum support
  • the integration of sustainability activities and their outcomes into the curriculum
  • coordination and guidance in implementing AuSSI
  • audit tools to manage resources and track progress
  • ideas for projects and ways to involve the local community as well as encourage a shift in the broader community towards more sustainable practices and processes
  • networking and clustering opportunities for schools
  • professional development and mentoring opportunities for all school staff
  • strategies to develop an overall, long term plan for sustainability for the school
  • encouragement for effective community partnerships.