"If we reduce pollution around our school it will be easier for children and wildlife to breathe."

Avenue Primary School in Leicester have been a Green Flag award winning school for many years. During this time they have actioned nearly all Eco-Schools topics, but have particularly excelled in the Transport topic, with their work even featuring on local radio and in newspapers! Avenue Primary school’s work on the Eco-Schools Transport topic has encompassed a variety of actions focused on encouraging walking and cycling to school as well as raising awareness of issues surrounding air pollution.

To encourage everyone to travel sustainably to school selected pupils at Avenue have been appointed ‘Walk to School Champions’ and tasked with the responsibility of monitoring how their classmates travel to school. The Walk to School Champions then provide recognition to those who have walked or cycled to school by awarding badges and class trophies in their monthly assemblies. In addition to their ongoing work, on 21st May 2019 the whole school participated in Happy Shoes Day, which included a whole school walk (or bike) to school. On the day they found that in 8 of their classes none of the children had travelled to school by car – in fact, 92% of children in the whole school had walked, biked, scooted or parked and strode. A count on the day found a huge 193 bikes within the school grounds! There were also plenty of transport related activities throughout the day like scooter workshops, bicycle washing and obstacle courses. Parents were invited to join in with many attending a coffee afternoon and bicycle maintenance workshop. The day did not just focus on Avenue’s pupils, they also wore fancy footwear raising nearly £300 for charity and collected shoes to donate to children less fortunate than themselves.

On top of their ongoing work promoting sustainable transport, and annoyed with drivers causing pollution near their school, pupils also participated in a whole school campaign to improve air quality. To achieve their goal, they decided to target the drivers who left their engines running whilst waiting outside the school. Pupils took to the streets outside school wearing hi-viz jackets and monitoring the numbers of drivers sitting with their engines running. They also put up signs around the school calling for parents to switch off their engines. In school, they worked with Leicester City Council’s Air Quality Officer for a total of three terms holding assemblies and writing articles about air pollution for the school newsletter. The whole of Year 5 even got involved in their English lessons, writing persuasive letters to be sent home to encourage families to work with the school to help reduce air pollution.

Year 4 pupil Uthman said: “If we reduce pollution around our school it will be easier for children and wildlife to breathe.”