In the midst of a respiratory disease pandemic, now more than ever we need to ensure we are raising awareness about pollution and health, and minimising people’s exposure to pollution.
How to raise awareness
Why do it?
Raising awareness is an important first step to becoming a cleaner air school. It’s zero cost, and with many existing resources, it is quite quick to do, so it makes an ideal first project.
This is a very quick and simple project, and it will lay the foundations for future projects. By finding out pollution levels at your school, and communicating them to the school community using our resources, you will help pupils and parents to understand why clean air is vital for children’s health, and what simple steps they can take to breathe cleaner air.
Quick to do.
Raises awareness and inspires the community to get involved in future projects.
1-2 hours to find out pollution levels at your school.
2-3 hours to edit resources and send out to the community.
You can download the full guidance on raising awareness, including guidance on getting hold of monitoring data, and communication resources for schools, in our Raising Awareness toolkit.
Once you're done, let us know and we will send you a Cleaner Air Sooner certificate.
STEP 1: GET DATA
Understanding how polluted your school is - and which parts of the school site are most / least polluted - is an important first step in becoming a cleaner air school.
You may already have air quality data for your school, but if you don’t you can use our resource: Pollution monitoring data: Guidance for schools.
We offer 1-1 advice to schools on getting hold of your air quality data and we also have pollution monitors that we can loan out to schools, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information.
Now is a great time to send out our ‘Clean Air in the Making’ letter to your parents, to let them know you are joining forces with ‘Cleaner AIr Sooner’ to improve air quality in and around your school.
STEP 2: MESSAGES
People often find air quality data for their school eye-opening. What’s more, communicating with the school community about pollution levels can be really effective in encouraging people to take action.
Schools don’t want to be described as being very polluted, so the messaging tactics are very important.
We have produced some tips here for communicating the data, and have also provided an email template resource which you can edit and then send out to raise awareness about pollution at the school.
Explain why clean air is important for child health.
Explain the data in easy and accessible language - air quality data can be technical and confusing. Let people know where the data comes from and what it means for the school.
Let people know what positive steps the school is planning to take to address the issue: this could include a project the school plans to undertake, plus information about any local plans which could affect pollution. If you haven’t developed any plans yet, you could invite people to get involved and share ideas on taking action, for example through coming along to a PTA meeting.
Always give some helpful advice at the same time, such as simple ways people can reduce their exposure. That way you won’t just scare people with the news.
STEP 3: COMMUNICATE YOUR MESSAGES
We’ve produced some awareness raising resources, which you can edit to include data about your school. The resources include:
School assembly / lesson for pupils (PPT / video);
School newsletter / email (word doc);
Leaflet in book bags (PDF);
Awareness raising banner for school gate.
Now your school community will be more aware of pollution at the school, and hopefully taking action to reduce their exposure. You may have also sparked some interest in the wider school community and could make it a theme of your next PTA meeting.
Some of the best clean air projects come from ideas from within the school community, but we also have guidance and resources to help you deliver other clean air projects, from mapping projects showing clean air routes to school, to green infrastructure to block out pollution from busy roads.