Manual SDG compass

How does the SDG compass work?

Who fills in the compass?

The SDG compass is preferably filled in in group by a mix of all the stakeholders at ‘the school’. That would be the principal, the teachers, the students, the parents, the maintenance, technical and administrative personnel, the advisory committee on education, external partners etc., basically everyone who contributes to the school operation. This is necessary if the school wants a representative image of how the SDGs are being handled at the moment.

In addition, anyone who’s interested can individually go through and fill in the compass. Of course, the result will be less realistic. That’s why a separate question assesses (see representativeness) who participated, gave input or was present when the compass was filled in.
If the compass mentions ‘the school’, that always refers to all the stakeholders at school. 

How to fill in the compass?

The SDG compass is formed by an SDG wheel with 17 blocks, one for every SDG.
Per SDG, there are 3 questions:

  • one at policy level (‘does the school have a policy for...’), 
  • one on an  education level (‘the students learn more about...’) 
  • one about  actions (‘the school organizes action...’).

Per question there are 5 response categories.

Policy level

  • Our school has a clear policy on this topic. There is a high level of support for this policy. Everyone knows it and the entire school works on it.
  • Our school has certain views on this topic but here is no coherent shared policy yet.
  • Our school has the ambition and/or plans to develop views and a policy on this topic. 
  • Our school doesn’t have the ambition and/or plans to develop views and a policy on this topic yet. 
  • We don't know, but we'll look into it.

Class level

  • At our school, we work on this across different subjects (there is, for example, a learning pathway) and the school stimulates principles such as critical thinking, system thinking, experiential learning, etc.
  • This subject regularly comes up in different classes and/or grades, but we lack a clear learning pathway and special attention to the above-mentioned principles. 
  • At our school, this subject doesn’t systematically come up in classes and/or grades, but we want to change that. 
  • Our school doesn’t have the ambition and/or plans to make this subject a reoccurring theme. 
  • We don't know, but we'll look into it.

Action level

  • In my school, everyone is aware of current actions and contributes to certain activities. There’s room for bottom-up initiatives here. 
  • At our school, actions are organized around this subject, but not everyone knows about them or contributes to them. 
  • Our school has the ambition and/or plans to organize actions around this. 
  • Our school doesn’t have the ambition and/or plans to organize actions around this yet.  
  • We don't know, but we'll look into it.

You go through the multiple choice questions one by one and together you choose the answer that best matches reality at your school. Sometimes the answer will be obvious. Other questions can start some discussions. Don’t worry, the process here is more important than the result. It’s even worth it to have conversations about this together. 

What is your school’s result?  

If you’ve answered the three questions about an SDG for your school, the SDG and the compass will be colored in from the outside inwards (depending on your answers you will either reach the center or not). If you do so for all the SDGs, the compass will be complete. That way, you will get a visual and organized view of the SDG operation at your school. 

It’s important to note that you definitely don’t need to go through all the SDGs. Every SDG can after all be an entry towards a sustainable, smart school. Try to reach the center of the compass for at least one SDG and make it a challenge to reach it for another one. The (colored in) compass might give you ideas on what (else) you can do with your school to work towards being a sustainable, smart school. You can also go to the SDG ideabox for more inspiration.  

Talk about it

You can save your school’s result as an image (by using the print button). Depending on the browser you’re using, you might need to change your print settings  to get the compass nice and centered. Change the scale or margins for example. Headers and footers are best turned off. Put your school’s logo in the center to to personalize your own SDG compass. Make this visible at school, that way you can show that your school is participating in the SDGs. Use it in your communications, on your website, on posters in the hallways, etc. 

Tracking the evolution in your school  

Repeat the exercise every once in a while. That can be every year, every two years... Save the results every time (with the print button) and compare them to each other. This way you can track whether your school is evolving in the direction of an SDG-proof school. On to 2030 with your school!