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Poor air quality affecting student performance

UK: Poor air quality in UK schools is having a negative impact on grades and performance when air quality is poor, a new report suggests.

The Air Quality in UK Classrooms Report, compiled by air movement company Airflow Developments, surveyed teachers at 133 UK schools. It found that 72% classrooms suffer from air quality that is “below standard”. 77% of teachers said poor air quality in their schools affected students’ ability to concentrate, which could lead to underperformance in exams. 

Some 91% of teachers agreed that poor air quality had a negative impact on students’ health, behaviour or ability to work. This rose to 96% in London. While six in 10 teachers (61%) have seen pupils’ health being affected – by worsening asthma or other lung conditions.

Nearly three in five teachers (59%) deemed a classroom with poor air quality to be “not fit for purpose” – for either teachers or pupils.

“We all know how much hinges on the outcomes of exams, so classroom conditions need to be as conducive to learning as possible. But this study reveals that conditions are far from ideal in many schools,” commented Airflow MD Alan Siggins.

“Poor air quality can obviously lead to health problems and absences. Yet, even when students are in school, substandard air quality can mean pupils find it tough to concentrate and commit what they’re learning to memory – crucial skills for exam preparation.

“We hope this report will act as a wake-up call for people who can sanction funding,” he added.

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