Anti-idling events are a great way to start off your quest for cleaner air at your school: they’re low cost, have an immediate impact, and can be led by the pupils themselves.
What’s more, the kids absolutely love taking part in these events, and will be wanting to arrange the next one as soon as the first one’s over.
Why do it?
Some parents leave their engines on while waiting at school pick-up or drop-off. This can create high levels of pollution at the school gate, which the children are then exposed to as they arrive and leave school.
After training up the children to be Clean Air Champions, using our project resources, the pupils will talk to drivers at pick-up, and convince them to always switch off their engines while waiting, so the pupils can breathe cleaner air. Pupils are great at doing this, and usually have 100% success rate!
Can be pupil-led - great Eco Team project (and pupils love it!)
Good opportunity to raise awareness with parents about pollution
Reduces pollution at the school gates and drop-off and pick-up
Time requirements for staff
3 hours prep (going through resources and arranging the logistics for the day)
2-3 hours delivery on the day (assembly, workshop and action event)
1 hour follow up (newsletter, using our resource)
This is very well suited to an Eco Team or Junior Road Safety Officers project. Alternatively it could be led by the School Council, or one individual class in KS2. One teacher will be required to help the pupils take the lead, and another staff member could help out at the event.
3 steps to Cleaner Air
Here we take you through the three steps to cleaner air for this project which are to:
Step 1: Campaign plan.
Step 2: Launch campaign.
Step 3: Monitor, evaluate and measure success.
You can download the full guidance including resources in our Active Travel toolkit and once you've completed the project, let us know and we will send you a certificate!
The first step is simply to estimate how many drivers are idling at school pick up.
The pupils could go out onto the street, accompanied by a teacher, half an hour before pick up. They could count how many cars have their engine off, and how many have their engine running (Resource: idling log sheet).
Choose a suitable date for your idling ‘action day’.
Show the whole school our idling assembly (resource in toolkit), so pupils can understand why it’s important that cars don’t idle near children. With this message now in their minds, the pupils will be able to remind their parents in the future to always switch off – pester power!
Hold a workshop / School council / eco council meeting where pupils can think about messaging, design posters, and practice talking to drivers and asking them to switch off. Most pupils love coming up with their own messages and imagery, and the posters can be displayed on school notice boards and can be laminated and put up at pick-up and drop-off locations to remind parents.
Arrange an idling event at school pick-up time.
Give a safety briefing (resource provided) to all attendees before it starts, so pupils understand how to stay safe while talking to drivers.
Pupils can then put on high vis vests and go out in small groups, accompanied by a teacher, to talk to drivers and ask them to switch off.
You can record the number of interactions on a log sheet (resource provided).
You could also put up a banner outside the school to remind parents not to idle, either one you design yourself from the pupils’ drawings, or by printing existing ones (resources provided).
Follow up with a newsletter (resource provided) to parents at the end of that week to thank all the drivers who switched off to help clean up the air, let them know how many drivers did switch off, and congratulate the children for taking action to reduce pollution at their school.
You could run follow-up events every month, and record how many drivers are idling. Hopefully you will see the numbers drop each time.
Now you can let us know you’ve completed the project, and we will send you a Clean Air Sooner certificate.