It's not 'just' the pupils. Schools care, too.
Last Friday’s walk-out by school children across the country attracted a fair amount of attention and even criticism from some quarters.
Quite what is wrong with taking direct action to draw attention to the failure of our “grown ups” to look after the planet is an interesting question, but it served as a reminder of the relevance this has to our own campaign.
You may remember that, last summer, pupils and teachers from two of the primary schools closest to Rimrose Valley turned out to show their opposition in their own ‘Hands Across the Valley’ event.
During last week’s meeting at Westminster, we provided Rachael Maskell MP with statements from just some of the schools in our area.
This demonstrates that it’s not “just” our children who feel strongly about the environment, green space and clean air. Schools and their teachers hold their own views on the matter, as you might expect.
We wanted to share these with you, to give you an idea of some of the concerns held by our schools around the prospect of a road being built along Rimrose Valley and the impact this will have on their pupils.
As a campaign, we’re both glad and grateful that our children and their schools care enough about the environment to want to make a stand and to fight for its future.
A road through Rimrose Valley is just one part of a much, much bigger problem on how we treat our planet.
If only some of the adults in power had the appetite and vision to see the world in the same way and take action.
If you’re worried about the impact Highways England’s road through Rimrose Valley will have on your child’s school, why not raise this with them and look to join the Clean Air Parents’ Network? We’ve included a statement from Sue Huyton below on the work it is doing in our area, which contains a link you can follow to join part of this important movement.
Here are some of the statements we've received from schools in the area:
“Clean air and green spaces are extremely important to our children. In this area, both of these are already lacking and to take away what little is left in our busy environment would be catastrophic.
We have several children who suffer from medical illnesses such as asthma, and increased pollution will not help their situation at all. Further to this, taking away green spaces will also impact on both the physical/mental health of our children, as where else will they have to roam freely and take their minds away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life?
If physical/mental health is such an important consideration for Government, maybe more thought should be given to the fact that many of our children do not travel far from their homes, so to take what little they have on their doorstep is like taking all that they have.”
Headteacher, St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School
“As a school living in the shadow of the local docks, surrounded by pollution where local monitors are often at illegal limits within the area, I am horrified, as are many of our parents, that this road through the much loved green space of Rimrose Valley would even be considered.
This space provides a sanctuary for our children and their families who often use it for cycling, walking, running and family time. If this space is destroyed, there are no local green areas to go to which is detrimental to well being and health.
At a time when air pollution and protecting green spaces is high on the Government's agenda, it is ludicrous that such a solution would be offered and no cleaner and safer alternatives found. It is shocking that the cost is put before the health of our children. I write in support of finding alternatives and urge you to push for greener and safer solutions that will not jeopardise our children's health.”
Headteacher, Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School
“Chesterfield High School is located very close to Rimrose Valley Country Park. Our students experience the benefits of this open space on a daily basis, travelling to and from school and during their social and recreational time.
As a school, we value the benefits of such a large green space so close as it enables students to engage with nature, encourages them to keep fit and healthy by using this area for exercise, leisure and recreation thus enhancing their health and wellbeing.
The school regularly uses this area for both curricular and extra curricular activities. It also provides students with a safe area away from busy traffic to walk and cycle to and from school.”
Key Stage 3 Leader, Chesterfield High School
“A lot of our parents walk to school from the Pendle Estate. In fact, some of them were responsible for petitioning the Local Authority in order to get the pavement widened due to safety concerns regarding pedestrian use.
The increase in the volume of traffic will negatively impact on our parents in two ways. Firstly, the increased traffic, particularly lorries, will negatively impact on the air quality surrounding the immediate area of the school.
Secondly, the proposed route will significantly disrupt access for our parents, who walk from the Pendle estate, as the new route will cut directly across the existing pavement and we are concerned as to how they will be able to safely get to school.”
Headteacher, St William of York Catholic Primary School
“We at Rimrose Hope wholeheartedly support your campaign to keep Rimrose Valley as a green space our community can enjoy. We use the valley across all four seasons for curriculum enrichment purposes.
We have made wildlife studies, held community sports events, held art classes, had walking days and cycle club activities on every part of the valley. The road would have a detrimental effect on our school’s ability to deliver good, outdoor education.
Our school site is less than 10,000 square metres and Rimrose Valley is a fantastic resource on our doorstep.”
Headteacher, Rimrose Hope C.E. Primary School
“The Clean Air Parents’ Network works with parents who are members of the Save Rimrose Valley Group as Sefton has some of the most polluted roads on Merseyside.
There are a number of schools in close proximity to these roads where children are being exposed to illegal and harmful levels of pollution which is damaging their health.
The Clean Air Parents’ Network is a national network contributing to building pressure for action at a national and local level to ensure that children can breathe clean air with healthy lungs. It is partnership between the British Lung Foundation and Client Earth.”
Clean Air Parents Network