When it became clear that the air around Hunter’s Bar Infant School in Sheffield wasn’t top quality, the school decided to take the matter into its own hands.
Monthly averages of nitrogen dioxide had exceeded World Health Organisation guidelines twice in two years when Hunter’s Bar partnered with the University of Sheffield’s department of landscape architecture.
Involving the whole school community and more than 50 organisations and businesses across the city, the school built a living green wall around the perimeter of its playground. This is now being studied in a PhD project funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, looking at school playground air quality before and after the construction of a living green pollution barrier.
For the headteacher, Catherine Carr, this is not the first eco initiative.
"[Ms Carr] has placed the green agenda at the heart of school culture and development," reads the nomination.
The school installed solar panels across a whole roof and has won several awards, including the Green Flag award, Modeshift Stars award, the Sheffield Telegraph top eco school award.
The lead judge for the category, Steve Brace, said the entry for Hunter’s Bar really stood out for him.
He said: “It showed me what a school can do in terms of identifying a problem, presenting a solution, working with their wider community to deliver it and then being able to share results.”
He added: “We saw inspiring shortlisted entries from small to large schools, rural to inner-city settings and from across the four nations of the UK.
“All the finalists and winners presented work which deserves to be celebrated and they all remind us of the essential power and positive impact of our teachers and schools.”