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Located in a rural Suffolk village, the air quality at West Row Academy is generally quite clean, but pollution levels increase at the school gates and along the main village road when parents drive to the school to drop off and pick up their children.


The school was worried that the pollution that the pupils are exposed to when they arrive and leave school could be damaging their lungs, so they decided to launch an anti-idling campaign to clean up the air. 



A whole-school assembly on idling was delivered to:

  • Educate the pupils about pollution and how it affects children’s health and

  • Let them know the campaign was happening and ask them to remind their parents why it’s important to always switch off engines when parked – pester power!


A workshop was held with the school’s Young Leaders where they designed posters for the idling campaign and discussed which messages would be most effective at getting drivers to switch off. They also did some role play to practise speaking to drivers, as that can be quite daunting if you haven’t had a few trial runs first.

An idling event was held at the end of the school day. After a briefing to explain to pupils how to stay safe, the pupils put on high vis vests and went out in small groups accompanied by a teacher to talk to drivers and ask them to switch off, handing them a leaflet with information at the end of the interaction. 


The pupils thanked the drivers for switching off and handed out leaflets to drivers to explain why idling and pollution are bad for health, and why it’s always good to switch off when parked, especially at schools! 

pupils talk to driver west row ac.png




The team were incredibly persuasive, and all 24 idling drivers that the children spoke to switched off – so a 100% success rate!

The headteacher emailed a newsletter to all parents, congratulating the pupils on taking action to improve air quality at the school, and thanking drivers for switching off. All parents were asked to please always switch off at drop off and pick up, to

help clean the air at the school.

Miss Back, the teacher who worked with the children on this project, said: “The

children really enjoyed the anti-idling event and have already pestered me about doing more

- which is great! We will now make this a monthly occurrence”

Cool World Consulting delivered this campaign for the school, on behalf of West Suffolk Council, and the resources that were developed have now been adapted and made available to all schools though this Cleaner Air Sooner School programme, so any school can deliver this type of campaign themselves.

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