Winning school announced for air pollution awareness competition

Published: Monday, 14th September 2020

Oxford City Council has announced the winning school for the school banner competition to raise awareness of air pollution.

Schools across Oxford were invited to take part in a competition, organised by the City Council and Oxford Friends of the Earth to create a banner raising awareness about the effects of air pollution, and to promote sustainable transport on the school run. 

The competition was open to all pupils with who are in school years three to six at primary school.


In total six schools entered with a total of 50 individual poster submissions.

The competition, which closed in March was judged by a panel, which included Councillor Tom Hayes, Friends of the Earth, City Council officers, and Oxford children’s author and illustrator, and ex-primary school teacher, Mini Grey.

The winning banner will be displayed for the first time at Windmill Primary School on Monday 7 September.

The banner will join the five existing banners which are used by the City Council across the city to help encourage sustainable travel on the school run and raise awareness of the impact of air pollution. It will also be used in future campaigns and messages relating to environmental sustainability. 

As the winning school, Windmill Primary School will receive £250 worth of play equipment, and pupils in the winning class will also receive ‘Oxford Air Needs Your Care’ t-shirts. 

Schools that participated in the competition will receive signed books by Mini Grey.

Schools Tackling Oxford’s Air Pollution

The competition is part of the City Council’s STOP (Schools Tackling Oxford’s Air Pollution) project which aims to raise awareness of the main sources and health effects of air pollution emissions among the school community. The programme involves pupils in measuring pollution around their school, teaching them about the health impacts and educating them about ways they can help reduce pollution by encouraging walking, cycling and public transport.

The campaign was awarded Air Quality Communications Initiative of the Year at the 2018 National Air Quality Awards.

Schools that would like to get involved in the STOP project, and have a banner displayed on their schools gates can contact for more information.

Air Pollution in Oxford 

The Council has worked with young people across the city in recent years to empower them to have a voice in issues on climate change and air pollution.

Last year’s Citizens Assembly was opened by Oxford youth climate activist Linnet Drury and the Assembly itself included several youth participants, in 2019, the Council joined children in Headington for Clean Air Day to campaign for drivers to turn off their idling engines, and the Council has announced plans to host a youth climate summit later this year.

“The voices of our young people are key to tackling the climate emergency and cleaning up Oxford’s air—they will be around for longer to suffer the consequences of climate inaction and are disproportionately affected by toxic air. I am delighted that the City Council is able to present Windmill Primary School with their winning banner which will join banners across the city. As a judge of the entries, I was overwhelmed by the quality of the designs and the commitment of young people. We are confident that the banners will help to promote sustainable travel to school and raise awareness of the impact of air pollution.”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader, and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, Oxford City Council

We all want our children to breath clean air as we know the negative impact that polluted air has on their health. At Windmill we feel that it is essential that we teach our children about air pollution and how they can make a difference to reduce it so that, not only do they influence their parent's behaviours but  we also grow a generation of children who want to make the world a healthier place for us all.

Lynn Knapp, Headteacher, Windmill Primary School

“It's great to see schools getting involved in this work. Our city needs cleaner air, and it's down to all of us to help make that happen.  More children cycling and walking to school means fewer cars on the road at rush hour which means less pollution, while cycling and walking help keep us fit and healthy.”

Chris Church, Oxford Friends of the Earth

“Our experience from lockdown over the past 6 months has shown what a wonderful thing sparkling clear air is. The schools involved have submitted fantastic banner designs and it was a pleasure to judge them. We can see how much our young people value our environment and the natural world. Let’s enable everyone to travel in the most environmentally-friendly ways, especially for small journeys.”

Mini Grey, author and illustrator