London schools improve results and reduce sick leave among children and staff after installation of air purifiers

Blueair Classic 603 installed in a classroom at Christopher Hatton Primary School in London.

19 September 2019: Last year over 50 schools in London were identified as suffering from harmful levels of air pollution in a School Air Quality Audit Report by the Mayor of London’s office. As a result of the audit, several recommendations for the schools were set out which included installing air purifiers, green planting and walking to school. Christopher Hatton Primary School, Gospel Oak Primary & Nursery School and Netley Primary School and Centre for Autism, located in the borough of Camden, installed air purifiers from Swedish company Blueair. A year later, teachers from all three schools say that the air purifiers are beneficial to the children’s learning, focus and results. More than half of the 56 teachers surveyed also say that they have noticed a decrease in sick absenteeism among themselves and the children.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, comments in his foreword to the School Air Quality Audit Report: “We are confident that implementing the recommendations from these audits will go a long way to delivering cleaner air, reducing health inequalities and, most importantly, improving the health and wellbeing of our children.” A survey of teachers and staff at Christopher Hatton, Gospel Oak and Netley primary schools, one year after the installation of Blueair air purifiers, show that improving classroom air quality can have a major effect on the health and learning of children.

Key findings from the survey of teachers:

  1. Before air purifiers were installed at the three schools, nearly all teachers (96%) worried that the air the children breathed inside the schools was polluted with 43% of teachers worrying a lot.
  2. After Blueair air purifiers were installed, teachers still worry about school air quality but only 6% say that they worry a lot
  3. Nearly all teachers say that good air quality in the classroom improves children’s learning (89%), with 84% saying that it also improves children’s focus. 79% of teachers say that they believe good classroom air quality improves the children’s results.
  4. When asked about the perceived effect of having Blueair air purifiers in the classrooms, 89% of teachers in the three schools say that the Blueair air purifier is beneficial to learning and to the children’s ability to focus.
  5. 83% of teachers also say that having a Blueair air purifier in the classroom is beneficial to the children’s results.
  6. A majority of teachers and staff (54%) say that they have noticed a decrease in sick absence among the children in their class/school since the Blueair air purifier was installed in the classroom.
  7. Just over half (51%) also say that they have noticed a decrease in sick absence among the teachers and staff after the installation of air purifiers.

“Our test-winning air purifiers are designed to create the safest environment for children to develop and grow. I’m therefore happy that teachers from three London schools independently testify to their effect in improving the health and learning of children” said Sara Alsén, Chief Purpose Officer at Swedish Blueair, a manufacturer of air purifiers for home and professional use.

The impact of the Blueair air purifiers has also been felt by the schools’ head teachers.

Gwen Lee, Principal at Christopher Hatton Primary School says: “We had trialled a few air purifier brands before installing Blueair last year. One of the best things about the Blueair air purifiers is that they are silent and unobtrusive which is important as anything that is noisy or causes a disruption to teachers won’t be turned on.”

Alan Murphy, Air Quality Leader at Netley commented: “Teachers are clearly appreciating the importance of clean air and the role the Blueair units play in helping to achieve it. Polluted air is shown to adversely impact on health and wellbeing, especially for children. It is a major focus for Netley due to HS2 construction and the congested roads around our school. Monitoring done last year showed very high levels of air pollution inside many classrooms at Netley. The Blueair air purifiers installed have dramatically improved the air quality internally.”

Before installing air purifiers at the three schools in September and October 2018, the mass concentration of particles per cubic meter (µg/m³) was measured in all classrooms. The particle concentration was then measured again after 60 minutes. The results from the first reading showed that all classrooms in all three schools had higher levels of particle concentration than the WHO recommended levels, some up to 40 times higher. The results from the second reading showed that the Blueair Classic 603 reduced the mass concentration of particles (PM 2.5 and PM 10) by between 92% and 97% (depending upon classroom measured).

About the survey

In total, 56 teachers and staff from Christopher Hatton Primary School, Gospel Oak Primary & Nursery School and Netley Primary School and Centre for Autism, participated in the web-based survey carried out between 28 June and 17 July 2019. The survey was anonymous, and teachers participated with the understanding that answers are confidential and non-attributable and would only be presented in aggregated format. A full report of the findings is available here.

About Blueair air purifiers

Blueair’s test-winning air purifiers remove dust, smoke, soot, car exhausts including nitrogen dioxide, pollen, bacteria and virus. Designed in Sweden to create the safest environment for children to develop and grow, Blueair air purifiers are recognized for superior performance in combination with low noise and low energy-consumption. They are used by schools, nurseries and children’s hospitals across the world.

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