A community of educators empowering students to take climate action

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The Clean Air for Schools Framework is a free, online tool to help every school create a tailored clean air action plan to tackle air pollution in and around the school.


The framework is designed to help your school to:


  • Reduce air pollution from your own operations
  • Tackle air pollution at the school gate, including the school run
  • Educate the next generation to help them and their families make cleaner air choices.
  • Become a local leader on air pollution, working with local partners to improve air quality in the local area.


Access the clean air schools framework here


letter to headteacher     letter to mp

The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today.


Exposure to air pollution can cause a range of health issues in children including effects on lung function development, worsening of asthma and it also plays a part in causing asthma in some children.  Research is also beginning to point towards effects of air pollution on the developing brain, such as reduced memory function.


Over 2,000 schools, nurseries and further education centres in the UK are in air pollution hotspots. Air pollution in and around schools comes from pollution sources outside the school, most notably road transport and household burning, such as wood burning stoves.  Air pollution is also generated by activities inside the school, such as heating systems and the type of cleaning and crafting products used.  Children can also be exposed to significant air pollution on the school run.


A recent analysis conducted by Global Action Plan and Queen Mary University of London found that a 50% reduction in air pollution around schools across the UK and Ireland could halve the number of children who have lung function so poor as to affect their everyday lives. 


Air pollution isn’t just a health issue, it may be affecting children’s ability to learn too.  



The Framework asks simple questions to tailor a choice of actions across four key areas:


Campaign for change using student/school voices, such as working with your local authority to reduce traffic passing the school through, for example, a school street.


Raise awareness of air pollution (sources, impacts & solutions) with pupils, the local community and beyond, such as assemblies for students or providing air pollution info in the school newsletter.


Cut the air pollution that the school generates and reduce pollution levels in the classroom through, for example, good ventilation and consolidating deliveries.

The School Gates

Tackle the air pollution generated at the school gates by providing scooter and bicycle parking or by trialling a school street.


There are essential actions that every school should look at to tackle air pollution:


  • Reduce the volume of traffic outside the school by, for example, implementing a school street.
  • Improve air quality inside the school by, for example, improving ventilation.
  • Create low pollution habits with the future generation by engaging students and their families with advice on tackling air pollution.
  • Use the children’s and school’s voice to encourage local and national decision makers to make air quality improvements across your local area.
How to use the clean air for schools framework


Create your bespoke clean air action plan in three simple steps:


1) First, answer a few questions about your school.

This helps the tool tailor the suggested actions to best suit your school’s situation. A basic understanding of your school’s operations is all you need, for example, are you next to a main road or does the school receive deliveries more than once a week?


2) Next, choose from the recommended actions.

You will be presented with a selection of air pollution actions based on their relevance and potential impact, alongside symbols that indicate their relative cost and effort to implement. We suggest you choose up to six actions for your plan to start with. 


3) Over to you!

You will be presented with a clean air action plan that also links to helpful advice, resources and case studies to help you to implement your chosen actions. When you have completed your first set of actions, return to the framework and add some more to your action plan to continue on your path to become a clean air school.



Feeling inspired? Read more about action being taken by our innovative teams on our case studies page.


Do you have any questions about the Clean Air for Schools Framework? Browse our FAQs page.



Complete your action plan now


Children wearing "Junior PCSO" high vis jackets
How has the Clean Air for Schools Framework been developed?

Through the support of the Philips Foundation, Global Action Plan and Philips have created the Clean Air for Schools Framework consolidating and building on the wide range of air pollution resources available to schools.


Choose from over 35 actions based on existing research, best practice, academic insights and in-school air quality testing by the University of Manchester.  And be guided by the advice and resources developed by the range of organisations committed to improving air quality in and around schools, including Living Streets, Mums for Lungs, Sustrans, Modeshift STARS, Unicef and many more.


The framework has been tested by teachers, headteachers, local authorities and academics and is endorsed by the Philips Foundation, Living Streets, Modeshift STARS and Mums for Lungs, with the support of Philips and NAHT.


If you have any questions, please get in contact at [email protected].

Information and action to prevent damage to children's health through exposure to air pollution is of paramount importance.” 


Margot Cooijmans, Director of the Philips Foundation


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