Motherwell pupils target drivers with clean air message

Two schools in Scotland have joined forces to make drivers aware of their concerns about  air quality in the area.

Pupils from St Brendan’s and Muirhouse primary schools in Motherwell have designed posters to highlight air quality issues around the schools.

The campaign was a joint effort between the two schools, North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) .

SEPA developed teaching material for air quality aimed at primary and secondary schools and launched in 2016. They have been involved projects such as this since then, helping schools to build the case for restricting vehicle use around the school gates, and for promoting active and sustainable travel choices.

With funding from Scottish Government, SEPA developed this banner-based competition which has, to date, drawn participation from over 50 schools.  The schools are encouraged to create air quality improvement messages and designs for display at the school gate.

The two schools have held joint assemblies to discuss air quality will soon have SEPA-installed air monitors outside the schools to allow pupils to assess air quality in the area.

Muirhouse Primary principal teacher Leanne Smith said: ‘Children have been putting their artistic talents to good use by designing some eye-catching posters and banners to remind parents and carers that they really shouldn’t be parking close to the school or sitting with their engines idling.

‘The standard of the entries was really high and the pupils showed great enthusiasm for this campaign.’

Rose Summers P7 at Muirhouse Primary said: ”The protest made me feel like I had the right to be heard and protest and stand up for what I believe in. I am happy that our voices have been heard and can make a difference.’

Katie Jamieson, Head Teacher of Muirhouse Primary School. said: ‘It has been wonderful to have both schools working together on this important issue. The power of Pupil Voice is a real focus for both schools working towards their Gold Rights Respecting Schools Award this year.

‘Our pupils are so environmentally aware and their dedication to improving our local community is inspiring to see.’

Maura Oates, Head Teacher of St Brendan’s Primary said: ‘The pupils have embraced this project and it’s been wonderful to see how engaged they are. We’ve worked so well on this issue, which matters so much to everyone who lives and works here.

‘The Rights Respecting Schools joint venture between St Brendan’s and Muirhouse Primary schools saw pupils highlight community safety at a school assembly.

‘And both schools participated in a joint assembly/coffee morning as part of the ‘We Are Muirhouse’ project, before the Easter break.’

Dr Colin Gillespie, Unit Manager for Environmental Quality at SEPA, said: ‘As Scotland’s environment agency, we’re delighted to work with North Lanarkshire and support these trailblazing schools that have voluntarily come together to actively protest about the local air quality on their routes to school.

‘It is encouraging to see young children keen to see the data produced from the air pollution monitors outside their schools and proactively lead change in their local communities.

‘With a long history of supporting air quality around schools in Scotland, we recognise the importance of clean air, especially on young lungs and that we’ve all got a part to play in protecting and inspiring the next generation of citizen scientists.’

Paul Day
Paul is the editor of Public Sector News.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top