17 May 2019
A pupil at Bolton School’s Junior Girls’ School has launched a campaign to encourage parents to switch off their car engines while waiting to pick up their children at the end of the school day. Harriet Kennedy in Year 4 initially wrote to the Junior Girls’ Headmistress Mrs Laverick about her concerns about air pollution around the Bolton School campus:
“When I walk to the car after school I have noticed that parents are sitting in their cars with the engines on. The smoke fumes not only pollute the air, which contributes to global warming, it is also extremely bad for everyone’s health,” she wrote. “I feel that I cannot tackle this problem on my own and need school’s support. I want to create an ‘Engines Off’ campaign to help reduce air pollution.”
Her ideas included sending a letter or email home to all Bolton School parents to explain what leaving their car engines running can do to their health and the environment, organising an assembly to recruit her fellow pupils to this cause, and putting up posters across the school. Her letter was supported by eighteen of her fellow Junior Girls’ School pupils.
Mrs Laverick said, “When I read Harriet’s letter I was very keen to help her get her campaign going. She talked to me about her concerns with such passion that I decided she was actually the best person to get the girls on board and she agreed to present her thoughts in an assembly. The Junior Girls were all totally supportive, as were Heads in other parts of the School who have promoted her campaign, Engines Off, in their weekly emails to parents. It is still early days, but hopefully the message is getting out to parents who collect their children at the end of the day. We are going to get some feedback from the duty sergeants in a few weeks, to see if they have noticed a change in parents’ habits.”
Harriet’s Engines Off campaign coincides with national concerns about air pollution levels and air quality around schools.