ResourceSmart Schools

Work with CERES to make your school more sustainable with ResourceSmart Schools, a free Victorian Government program.


ResourceSmart Schools is a free Victorian Government program that helps schools embed sustainability in everything they do. Schools minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity, and take action on climate change to benefit their school and community.

Over 1400 Victorian schools have taken part in ResourceSmart Schools since 2008.

About the ResourceSmart Schools Program

Sustainability is a big, complex concept which can make it challenging to know where to begin. The ResourceSmart Schools program helps to make it achievable with five modules: Core, Biodiversity, Energy, Waste and Water.


Port Melbourne Primary created student Sustainability Captains to drive change at their school. Captains organise sustainability focused excursions, run a weekly gardening club and even presented at the RSS Awards.


Mother Teresa Primary installed solar panels which at full capacity saved them 75% on their energy costs. Students in every year learnt about solar power and did their part to reduce wasted energy, like designing signs to remind people to switch electronics off as they leave the room.
Garbage bin icon


Our Lady of Fatima school have redirected household waste from the bin to the art room - collecting bottle caps, egg cartons, milk cartons, paper, soft plastics and more to create inspiring art. These items are incorporated into the art curriculum daily and are also used to create installations promoting sustainability around the school.


St Monicas maintain their own wetlands full of rich biodiversity. They remove litter and problematic weeds and have planted 150 wetland plants. Students have spotted and recorded many birds enjoying their new home including silvereye, fairy wrens and more


Aitken College collects rain water to irrigate their school grounds and keep them looking green. They have put up signage to educate about water conservation practices in the staff room, bathrooms and around the school.

In each module there are clear actions and ideas to put into practice. While some schools set out to complete them all, many pick and choose aspects of the program best suited to their needs. The online portal makes it easy to track your progress and your impact, to keep your school and community across all of your achievements.

Students making a mosaic on the side of a shipping container using colourful bottle caps and jar lids

key benefits

The program has been proven to have huge benefits for students, schools and the planet. 
As part of the ResourceSmart Schools program you benefit from a running start on your sustainability journey. The program is designed to complement the curriculum, work in school ecosystems and inspire students of all levels to get involved.

Empowers Students

A recent study found that 59% of Aussie kids are very or extremely worried about climate change, and 84% are at least moderately worried. The RSS program empowers students to make change in their immediate environment, and has been proven to have a positive impact on their wellbeing*. It creates a new stream for achievement beyond academics and sport, building confidence and recognising students for their efforts.

* Wellbeing study. RSS improved student happiness, optimism and perseverance. Also marked improvements in engagement in learning and connection to and pride in school.

Supports Schools

Support: Get support from the CERES team and be connected with like minded educators, schools and partners in your area.

Recognition: Track your impact and be recognised for your efforts including the ones you are already taking. 

Savings: Saving the planet also happens to save money. Banyule Primary school in Rosanna saved close to $100,000 on bills in their time in the program. 

Saves the Planet

Since the inception of the program ResourceSmart Schools have:

  • planted 5,271,038 trees, enough to create an 18,000 acre forest
  • saved more than 118,000 tonnes CO2e greenhouse gas emissions
  • diverted 194,000 cubic metres of waste from landfill, enough to fill 78 Olymplic sized swimming pools.
  • saved 1,884,783 kilolitres of water, that’s almost 755 Olympic sized swimming pools.

CERES Support

CERES are a not-for-profit organisation who has been educating students in sustainability for over 40 years. Built on an unwanted tip site, our 10-acre Brunswick East park is now a thriving oasis, sustainability and community hub.

We’ve worked with hundreds of schools to implement the RSS program. Our team is on hand to help you every step of the way.

Facilitator talking to a primary school group


Ready to make your school more sustainable? Looking for support to help make it happen?

How much does the program cost?

There is no cost to be part of the ResourceSmart School Program which is fully funded by Sustainability Victoria and the Victorian Government. 

Some schools choose to purchase materials and infrastructure to become more sustainable (for example, water tanks) but this is not expected or essential. There are many grants and fundraising opportunities for schools to explore to help pay for these types of projects, should you choose to do them.

What kind of support do schools receive from CERES?

The CERES team is on hand to support you as part of the ResourceSmart Schools program. Schools have access to unlimited support from their designated facilitator via email. In addition, each year you will have access to:

  • Four in person check-ins with your facilitator
  • Professional development workshops for your team
  • A resource-based audit (waste, water, energy, biodiversity)
  • Full day professional learning for up to two staff members twice per year
  • Student voice in sustainability sessions run online each term
  • Module assistance and reviews to make sure you receive certification and stars for the activities you complete
How long will it take to complete the program?

ResourceSmart Schools is a flexible program, it’s designed to assist you in making progress right away but also supporting meaningful, long term improvements. Schools typically take at least a year or more to complete each module, and there are five modules in the program. 

Once all the modules are complete and schools have 5 stars they can remain in the program and continue to improve on their sustainability initiatives. Some schools have been in the program for 15+ years. 

The long term and centralised nature of the program also assists if team members change over time, the school’s information and overall journey is recorded and able to be picked up so progress isn’t lost.

How does our school earn stars?

For each module completed, schools have the opportunity to acquire a corresponding star. There are five stars in total. Once a module has been completed, there are usually a couple more actions that need to be undertaken to achieve the star, including achieving a certain level of reduction in resource use. 

Schools receive a sign for their gate to proudly share your stars and achievements with the whole school community. There is also an annual Resource Smart School Awards where schools and students are recognised for their initiatives. 

Five stars is a big goal, but it is absolutely achievable. Some 5 star schools CERES works with in the North and South metro areas of Melbourne.

Do you have a brochure I can share with my school?
Yes, you can easily share an overview of the program with your school using our print-ready information booklet here.
Teacher overseeing a student presentation, and the audience (of other students) all have their hands raised

Ready to get started?

Get in touch with the CERES team for more information

Which region is your school in?(Required)
Join Waitlist We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.
Scroll to Top