Clean air for schools

Canterbury City Council and the MIDKENT Environmental Health Partnership were awarded DEFRA air quality grant funding in March 2021 to develop a digital resource for primary schools to educate children aged 5 to 11 years and their parents about air pollution.

The objective was to create a resource to raise awareness of the causes and harmful effects of air pollution through fun, engaging and practical strategies that:

  • support schools and teachers in promoting less polluting travel behaviour
  • educates and empowers children to act as advocates and ambassadors for reducing air pollution in school and at home
  • provides a framework for discussion between children and their families to talk about air quality and health

The Pollution Patrol website was launched on 25 April 2022 and is available to 537 primary schools and more than 150,000 children and their parents across Kent and Medway.

Pollution Patrol is brought to life using an immersive animated story which allows children to journey through the fictional town of Sooting where they meet the narrator Aireal, a floating cloud of air, and the Pollution Patrol gang.  Aireal invites the children to play games to learn where air pollution comes from, what it is made up of, how it can affect our health and ways to reduce it in and around schools and at home.

Pollution Patrol is introduced to children and parents through an assembly including a play script so that pupils can take on roles of the Pollution Patrol. The assembly finishes with the Pollution Patrol Song (to the tune of What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor) to reinforce the key messages which are reintroduced as part of curriculum-linked lesson activities for each key stage.  

The website also houses branded activity plans, a teachers’ guide, an assembly plan and playscript to help teachers in introducing the theme of air pollution and air quality across all target demographics (students, teachers and parents/carers). Pollution Patrol can be accessed by children and their parents at home to ensure key messages are transferred and that behaviour change is encouraged.

The website encourages a sustainable change in children and their parents’ habits by educating them about the causes and harmful impact of air pollution and encourages them to take action to protect their health and reduce their own negative impacts. As the children and parents use the website we expect their understanding and awareness of the issues around pollution and air quality will be improved. Motivating them to change their behaviours in ways which we hope will stay with them for life.

Published: 20 September 2022

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