ResearchNearly 60% of teachers believe poor air quality is making their working environment ‘unfit for purpose’

New data from ventilation firm Airflow believes an overwhelming majority of 90% of teachers believe air quality has a negative impact on students’ or teachers' health.
Content Team1 month ago8 min

Leading ventilation solutions providers Airflow has released a comprehensive set of findings on attitudes to air quality in schools. Not only does an overwhelming majority of 90% of teachers believe air quality has a negative impact on students’ or teachers’ health, behaviour or ability to work – but, many of the surveyed teachers felt that their own health is at risk, too.

Airflow says that more than half (59%) of the teachers surveyed said poor air quality can make their working environment unfit for purpose (for teachers or pupils). Almost two-thirds (63%) recognised that poor air quality has physical and mental consequences for teachers.

In schools where air quality was ‘below standard’, almost a quarter (23%) of teachers fear that the issue increases the risk of school closure, raising the prospect of job losses.

Pupil safety was also covered by the survey. As well as aggravating asthma and other lung conditions, the report found that poor air quality or ventilation is also detrimental to the mental wellbeing of students. More than three-quarters (77%) said it can affect students’ ability to concentrate in class, while over half (56%) said it can cause antisocial or irritable behaviour amongst students.

90% of teachers believe air quality has a negative impact on students’ or teachers’ health

In schools where teachers identified the air quality to be ‘below standard’, over half (53%) said performance and grades suffered as a result.

Impact of air quality on pupil learning

The survey also revealed that an overwhelming majority of 90% of teachers believe air quality has a negative impact on students’ or teachers’ health, behaviour or ability to work.

As well as aggravating asthma and other lung conditions, the report found that poor air quality or ventilation is also detrimental to the mental wellbeing of students. More than three-quarters (77%) said it can affect students’ ability to concentrate in class, while over half (56%) said it can cause antisocial or irritable behaviour amongst students.

In schools where teachers identified the air quality to be ‘below standard’, over half (53%) said performance and grades suffered as a result.

Airflow, which provides air movement and ventilation solutions conducted the survey of teachers from 133 schools, wanted to discover what classroom working conditions are like, whether the air quality in UK schools is adequate for staff and students, and how schools can improve. The company’s statistics have thrown light on a range of concerns from educators. It says almost a third (31%) of teachers have requested measures to improve classroom air quality or ventilation; but “nothing has been done”.

However, over a quarter (27%) said they’re aware of efforts to improve air quality that were abandoned due to a lack of funding or government support. This figure is as high as 50% in areas such as Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber.

As the Covid-19 pandemic caused huge numbers of infections in schoolchildren and teachers, there was a renewed focus on air quality in classrooms and working environments. With the public now more aware of such issues, the government has a golden opportunity to take publicly supported action.

Key findings from Airflow’s survey:

  • 72% of teachers say the air quality in their school is below standard
  • 90% of teachers think air quality impacts students’ or teachers’ health, behaviour or ability to work
  • 77% of teachers believe poor air quality affects student’s concentration
  • 71% of teachers want air filtration or purification systems installed
  • Over a quarter of teachers said their school is trying to improve air quality, but cannot due to a lack of funding or government support
  • 60% of teachers noticed a connection between schools’ poor air quality and worsening asthma/other lung conditions
  • 74% of Greater London teachers say air quality in classrooms is ‘below standard’
  • 61% of teachers in London said poor classroom air quality was making asthma/other lung conditions worse in children – double the number in the North East (29%

Airflow says it hopes its survey will raise awareness of air quality issues around the country and help to expedite action from all of the interested stakeholders.

See more of Airflow’s data – The Air Quality in UK Classrooms Report.

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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