Greening schools

Greening schools can lead to much better air quality in the playground, as well as offering children important contact with nature. It can go beyond just the planting of greenery to incorporate new projects for lessons, anti-idling and 'Walk to School' campaigns as well as healthy eating.

St Paul’s CE Primary School, Hammersmith

In 2017, the Mayor of London commissioned an air quality audit of 50 primary schools across the capital. St Paul’s CE Primary School was found to be the second most polluted in the city, 25 µg/m3 over the legal limit of 40 µg/m3. It sits next to the Hammersmith Flyover and Hammersmith Bridge Road, with pupils exposed to high levels of noise pollution and fumes from 100,000 vehicles every day.

The school responded by starting a campaign called Grey Goes Green which held workshops to educate parents and kids about air pollution. The kids understood it immediately and became the most vocal agents for change. Their lobbying of the Mayor helped win £16k from his Greener Spaces funding, and next the school forged a partnership with the charity, Trees for Cities, the Local Authority and others to gain more funding.

More workshops and educational sessions followed, and eventually, a vision was agreed of a playground filled with trees, flowers, shrubs, birds, and insects.

Finally in June 2019 the “Grey Goes Green” woodland opened. Filled with greenery seating, platforms for performance, meandering walkways and nooks for wildlife, the school had transformed both their playground and the quality of the air.

Click here to find out about a national campaign to green schools and the curriculum

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