Teenagers working in school classroom

Teenagers working in school classroom. Photo: Phil Boorman / Getty images .

Why do we need to understand indoor air pollution?

The quality of our air is important. After all, around 10,000 litres of air passes through each person’s body every day. UK residents spend around 90% of their time indoors, yet regulations to address air pollution focus almost solely on outdoor exposure. Our indoor air often contains pollutants that can damage our health. Since young people spend lots of time at school, it is important to make sure that the air in classrooms is good, and improve it where it isn’t.

About the project

SAMHE is a collaboration between five UK universities and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). The SAMHE research team aims to establish a school-based network of air quality monitors which is representative of the UK’s schools. Through that network we will record measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) along with temperature and relative humidity.

SAMHE also aims to give school communities the power to understand and improve their air quality. To that end we are developing an interactive Web App that pupils and teachers can use to interact with the data from their monitor. They will be able to see how their air quality changes over the course of hours, days or weeks and months. This will create opportunities for pupils to be scientists and do hands-on experiments with their monitors. It will also give students and teachers the knowledge and agency they need to control their own air quality, for example through opening and closing windows.

Some of the activities promoted through the Web App will be curriculum-linked. All of the activities have been designed to be flexible, so schools can do them as little or often as they like, for example, for one particular module for one class, or in a regular slot for a science or eco club.

UK Schools will be invited to participate, free of charge, in SAMHE. It is open to primary, middle and secondary schools and sixth form colleges. (Unfortunately exclusively early years schools cannot be accommodated).

Ultimately SAMHE aims to enhance understanding of air quality in schools to evidence national policies that result in improved health & education through changes in air-quality. We also aim to increase the engagement of school children in air quality science, potentially leading to a step-change in future national awareness.

Could your school help?

If you work for or study at a UK school (excluding early years only settings) then your school could help with beta testing in Autumn 2022! Find out more about becoming a ‘SAMHE pioneer’ school’.

SAMHE pioneer schools

October 2022 – SAMHE ‘pioneer schools’ are go!

Our school registration form is now live. If you are are a staff member at a UK school, you can sign your school up to receive a SAMHE air quality monitor this autumn and help test the beta version of the SAMHE Web App.

October 2022 – SAMHE website launched

The SAMHE website is now live. Visit it to read more about the project and find out how UK schools can get involved.

September 2022 – SAMHE logo design finalized

The SAMHE co-design schools have helped us design our logo, which we are very pleased with!

SAMHE logo

May 2022 The process of co-design has begun!

Teachers from our first co-design schools have met with members of the SAMHE team to start shaping the design and functionality of the web app. We have also started getting feedback on possible logo ideas from young people.

Research Team

SEI York is leading on stakeholder engagement, including co-design and project communications.

Supported by:

The following organizations are providing support by promoting SAMHE to their networks:

Suppliers/contractors:

  • AirGradient is supplying the SAMHE air quality monitors
  • HDSDev is supplying web development consultancy for the creation of the front-end application

Funding

Initial funding was provided by the Department for Education , which continues to be involved. Funding for the main project is provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) .

SAMHE project team and funder logos

SAMHE team, partner and funder logos

Co-design

Around 20 schools have agreed to co-design aspects of this project together with the research team. They are helping design the interactive Web App and the activities to make sure they meet schools’ needs and are fun and engaging for pupils. They have also helped design the SAMHE logo (below).

SAMHE logo

Other schools have agreed to beta test the monitors and Web App and give feedback that can be incorporated before SAMHE is offered more widely to UK schools early in 2023.

Could your school help?

If you work for or study at a UK school (excluding early years only settings) then your school could help with beta testing in Autumn 2022! Find out more about becoming a ‘SAMHE pioneer’ school’.

SAMHE pioneer schools
Preview of SAMHE newsletter October 2022

Preview of start of first SAMHE newsletter October 2022