Every child should be able to breathe clean air.
Because children and young people are disproportionately affected by the health effects of polluted air it is important that our schools do what they can to improve air quality in and around their communities.
We also believe that schools can play an important role in educating our children and young people about the effects and sources of air pollution to equip future generations with the skills and knowledge needed to care for our air in the future.
By working together as a city, we can best protect the health of children in Leeds.
Raise awareness of idling
Engine idling is when a vehicle’s engine is left on needlessly when it is stationary or waiting. It emits harmful particles and gases into the air.
Idling cars and buses are a particular problem outside of schools. When Leeds City Council asked residents where we should tackle idling as part of a recent consultation, more people said outside of schools than anywhere else.
As part of our wider anti-idling work, 30 primary schools are teaching children about the problem and installing anti-idling signs designed by competition winning pupils.
We’re also making a new anti-idling banner available to all interested schools, nurseries or colleges while stocks last. If you represent one of these, please contact us to find out more.
Teach about air quality
To help primary schools educate pupils about air quality, Leeds City Council has partnered with the London Sustainablity Exchange to develop a toolkit to educate young people about the effects of air pollution and where it comes from.
This free, downloadable toolkit is packed with curriculum-related lesson plans and handouts that can be used throughout the year to help you and your pupils find out the answers to the following questions:
- What is air quality?
- How does it affect us?
- How do we measure it?
- Can we make a difference?
We have already begun delivering these lessons to 30 council-operated schools across Leeds.
Promote sustainable and active travel
One of the best ways to clean the air around your school is to encourage fewer students and staff to commute by car.
At thirty primary schools across Leeds, pupils are being encouraged to swap four wheels for two and scoot to school using shared scooters instead of being driven.
Leeds City Council work with all schools in the city to develop tailored travel plans that promote safe and sustainable travel for pupils and staff.
By promoting cleaner and more sustainable ways to travel to and from school, schools can help minimise emissions and support healthy active lifestyles that mean children arrive ready to learn. Plus, parents and children can feel safer near roads outside of schools when there are fewer cars using them.
- How can your school promote sustainable and active travel?
There are lots of ways that schools can promote sustainable and active travel. Here are ten ideas:
- Introduce a school travel ambassador scheme where pupils volunteer to promote safe, sustainable and active travel.
- Book road safety training for your pupils.
- Ask pupils to design a persuasive poster campaign to display in your school, at the school gates or in your local community.
- Host an air quality stall at school events to spread the word about air pollution.
- Start a walking bus where children and/or volunteers walk in a group, picking up or dropping off ‘passengers’ at specific ‘bus stops’ along their school route.
- Introduce a park and stride for pupils that live too far to walk, scoot, or cycle into school. This is where students/staff park at least 500 metres away from the school and walk/cycle/scoot the rest of the way.
- Take part in any of these ace active travel initiatives: Bike week, The Big pedal, Walk to School week, the Schools Yorkshire Tour, or Scootember, Car Free Day, Clean Air Day.
- Ask your parent-teacher association to help promote sustainable travel.
- Get your school to enrol in the national Modeshift STARS scheme, which recognises and awards schools that have demonstrated excellence in promoting cycling, walking or other forms of sustainable travel.
- Encourage car sharing for those who do need to drive or be driven.
Follow @SaferRoadsLeeds on Twitter for new ideas to promote safe and sustainable travel.
- Take part in our competitions
Leeds City Council regularly run competitions and other incentives for Leeds schools to get involved in. Dozens of schools participated in our Schools Yorkshire Tour, ‘Green Miles’ and ‘Clean Air Leeds Champions’ competitions to encourage sustainable travel and raise awareness of air pollution.
Let us know if your school may be interested in taking part in future competitions.