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Clean air for schools program and framework

Philips Foundation partnered with Global Action Plan and the University of Manchester to conduct primary research and propose solutions for tackling the polluted air children breathe at schools



    It is estimated that 90% of the world’s children are breathing toxic air. Indeed, over 2,000 schools and nurseries in the  UK and Ireland are located in air pollution hot spots.


    Global Action Plan (GAP), University of Manchester, and Philips Foundation wanted to understand the impact of polluted air on children’s health and their ability to learn, and present potential solutions to improve air quality in and around schools located in areas with poor air quality.





    The project worked with 19 schools in some of the most polluted areas in Greater Manchester, reaching approximately 6,000 schoolchildren. Participating schools received Philips air purifiers – used for filtering out pollutants from classrooms – and researchers from UoM monitored the impact this had both on lung health and ability to learn.


    Following the research and analysis phase, Philips Foundation, with support from Global Action Plan, raised awareness of the findings and developed a Clean Air for Schools Framework. The framework was developed in consultation with a range of organizations. It serves as a free, online tool to help every school across the UK and Ireland to create personalized clean air action plans to reduce air pollution around their premises.


    Following the roll out of the Clean Air for Schools Framework, Philips Foundation and Global Action Plan monitored its engagement and uptake across the UK and Ireland, and has continuously promoted its widescale adoption. Presentations were made to the UK Parliament, HM Government, devolved administrations, local authorities and directly to schools.



    The findings showcased the link between poor air and children’s attainment. Modelling revealed that if air pollution levels in and around school grounds reduces by 20%, a child’s ability to learn could improve by one month per year.


    The development and roll-out of the Clean Air for Schools Framework generated significant engagement and participation, including:


    1. 50+ organizations consulted to develop the Framework
    2. 4,442 unique visits to the Framework website
    3. Promoted the Framework to over 2,000 accredited UK schools


    70 declarations of support from: UK Government Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Local Authority Leaders. Most importantly, the program and Framework has led to tangible outcomes:


    1. 6,650 lives (pupils and teachers) improved
    2. 9,310 further family members reached
    3. Supported use of the Framework in three schools in London4
    4. Framework roll out across all 3,250 London schools through the London Schools Pollution Helpdesk

    Learnings and next steps


    The Clean Air for Schools Program has been a successful in highlighting the severe risks and impacts of air pollution on children. Through the Clean Air for Schools Framework, a pathway has been created for school leaders to help them improve air quality in and around their schools. The program has achieved tangible victories, encouraging certain London schools to adopt and apply the framework, and there is a clear appetite to support such initiatives from policymakers, ministers and the education sector.


    To achieve nationwide roll out, school leaders should prioritize the issue and know that their participation will help achieve desired change and protect their pupils from air pollution. To ensure that this is possible, the Clean Air for Schools Framework is being vetted by the Tackling Air Pollution at School (TPAS) Network, who are working in partnership with GAP, to strengthen and prepare the framework roll out to the UK’s 24,000 schools.


    2019 - 2021




    United Kingdom & Ireland

    Europe, UK & Ireland

    Care to collaborate, or want to learn more about this project?  
    Do not hesitate to contact us.

    In line with Sustainable Development Goal 17 (partnerships for the goals), we believe we can make a real difference in providing access to quality healthcare if we work together.

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