Lambeth school to offer parents advice on pollution face masks

Pupils from Bowes Primary School in Enfield, north London, Image copyright PA
Image caption Nearly 450 schools in London have unsafe pollution levels, according to City Hall

A south London primary school concerned about high levels of air pollution is issuing parents with advice about buying face masks for children.

City Hall estimates about 450 schools in London are currently affected by unsafe pollution levels.

Adam Matthews, chair of governors at Archbishop Sumner school, proposed giving face masks to pupils as a pilot.

However, governors have voted instead to offer parents information enabling them to make their own choices.

'Look odd'

Mr Matthews, who has three children at the school in Lambeth, said he would rather his children did not have to wear masks but "unfortunately" he felt in some cases it was necessary because pollution levels were now "so bad".

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Media captionPollution masks: do they really work?

"At the moment the diesel fumes are really impacting on kids' lungs," he added.

His daughter Scarlett, aged eight, said she was not keen on wearing a mask as she thought it would maker her "look odd."

Following the governors' meeting on Thursday, the school has decided to hold a briefing session for parents and invite experts to deliver a presentation on air pollution and face masks.

The school has also agreed to:

  • Work with the mayor's office to support air pollution monitoring on roads to the school to help inform parents of pollution hot spots on their route
  • Support the Carnival for Clean Air in Kennington on 12 June

London air pollution


Premature deaths a year in London linked to air pollution

  • 500,000 aged under 19 who live in areas that breach EU limits

  • 443 schools that have unsafe pollution levels

  • 86 of these are secondary

  • 2025 year London is expected to meet EU limits


The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, previously announced that London's most polluted schools would receive "toxic air audits" to help protect students.

The jury is still out on whether pollution masks really work, with supporters claiming they can filter out some harmful toxins.

Detractors say their efficiency depends on how well the masks fit the wearer and the specific purpose they are being used for - as not all masks perform the same function.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Governors at Archbishop Sumner School voted to offer parents information about face masks so they could make an informed choice for their child

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