Clean Air for Schools

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We are looking for schools to take part in our Clean Air for Schools air monitoring initiative, sponsored by Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils.

We want air quality across the borough to be improved and we need your help to do it.

As well as raising awareness of air pollution and the importance of reducing car journeys to school, participation fits well with the National Curriculum Key Stages 2 to 5, addressing SC2 Science etc and relating to PSHE - Developing a Healthy Lifestyle.

The project can also be completed as an extra-curricular activity with an Environment club, Green Team or Eco-Committee if you have one.

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Welcome to the second year of our Clean Air for Schools scheme where we are working with schools to continue to raise awareness of air quality and pollution with primary schools across the borough.

We have again teamed up with the Kent Messenger Green Champions Scheme and schools can use their work with us to go towards your green champions awards.

This year our officers are visiting all of our Clean for Schools participants and giving assemblies on air quality with children asking them to help us reduce pollution by coming to school without the car.  We are giving each school a banner designed by the winners of last year's banner competition that they can put outside the school reminding parents to switch off their engines.

We are also providing our schools with a portable air quality monitor that they can use to compare levels of pollution as children walk to school along different routes and compare against levels when they drive in the same way.  The children can also use the devices to show the different levels of pollution outside the school at pickup and drop off time compared with the rest of the day.  The devices we are using are called plume flows. It is important to remember that they are not nearly as accurate as the monitors that we use at the roadside but they are really useful comparing pollution levels at different places.  We hope to show that children can use different routes to walk to school to reduce levels of air pollution that they are exposed to and that they are exposed to more air pollution sitting in traffic as they drive in.

A similar experiment was done by the BBC using portable equipment.

We would love our schools to send us what they are doing each term so that we can put them together once a term into a newsletter to share.


The challenge to our schools this year is to come up with and implement their own anti-idling campaign for their school.  Tell us what you have done and how it worked by Easter 2020 and we will award a prize to the best campaign.

Headcorn Primary School

St Johns Primary School


Clean Air for schools


As part of the project each school will receive two free air monitoring tubes per month, to be positioned around your grounds. Data will be collected by your students over a 10-month period (September 2018 to June 2019) and returned to the council for your area.

What is a diffusion tube?


Diffusion tubes are used to measure the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide in the air, by using a specialised sampling tube. The main sources of Nitrogen Dioxide, are burning of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil, gas, petrol and diesel) for domestic heating, power generation and road transport.Diffusion_Tube_Image

How to use it:

Tubes should be left outdoors on the school site for four to five weeks. Children, assisted by an adult, will be able to follow instructions about how to best collect the samples. These are then returned for analysis and a full report carried out. This information can then be used to map out nitrogen dioxide levels around your school.

Science and learning:

As well as raising awareness about air quality and why it matters, children will benefit from learning scientific sampling techniques, such as taking data samples, mapping and data analysis.

Launch at The Flagship School


We've now recruited the next generation of Environmental Officers! We've officially launched our Clean Air for Schools campaign with our first school to position their diffusion tubes. The flagship school for this scheme is St John's CEP in Grove Green, a primary with great eco-credentials. We’ll be following them on their journey to monitor air pollution around their grounds, and supporting their aim to reduce traffic congestion and discourage engine idling at the school gates.

For more information visit St John's CEP School website.

Flagship school image one



See our videos below and follow along with the progress.

Teaching packs

We have included some teaching material to help schools with air quality related activities and lessons. The material has been produced and is used with the permission of Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council.  There is more material on their website.