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Reading schools learn that Clean Air Living Matters

A new air quality education programme is being rolled out to schools across Reading, thanks to a collaboration between the Council, the University of Reading, engineering consultancy Stantec and social enterprise Design Nature.

Called Clean Air Living Matters (CALM), the scheme will run until April 2025 and aims to raise awareness of poor air quality and increase knowledge of its causes, impacts and solutions with pupils and staff in schools.

The programme is being funded by £327,000 which Reading Council secured from the Air Quality Grant.

Designed to fit around a school’s curriculum, the programme can include assemblies, activity days and workshops with support from air quality experts as part of term-length project.

Participating schools are supplied with monitoring equipment to monitor air quality in and around the school. Pupils are shown how to use the equipment and understand what the data means.

The project also aims to spread awareness of air quality issues beyond schools and into local communities.

Teacher Kim Schwarz, from Geoffrey Field Junior School, said: ‘The children were engaged, excited and responsive to the CALM initiative, and we look forward to continuing to work with the team, bringing our data to life and encouraging improvement in the school air quality and air quality for all.’

Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: ‘It is great to see that Reading school children are enjoying these fun and interactive activities while learning about the importance of air quality.

‘The Council is committed to improving air quality around the borough by investing in a number of sustainable transport schemes to encourage drivers to switch to public transport, cycling and walking.

‘We hope the young people lucky enough to take part in these lessons will be inspired to talk to their families and friends about the causes of poor air quality and what we can all do to help prevent it.

‘Teachers involved so far have been full of praise for the free sessions and I would encourage other Reading schools to take up this excellent offer.’

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