Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has claimed that councils are failing to monitor schools in Britain for dangerous air pollution, despite government advice to do so.
The BLF submitted a series of freedom of information (FoI) requests to 433 local authorities. Of the 322 which replied, only 140 confirmed that they had placed pollution monitors within 10 metres of school grounds.
In particular, urban areas identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as having harmful levels of pollution, contained a number of councils which only kept track of one or two schools’ surrounding pollution levels.
The survey identified ‘alarming discrepancies’ in council behaviour, with some using simple diffusion tubes to measure NO2 gas, and others are monitoring different-sized particles called PM10s and 2.5s which, which are produced by traffic and industry.
A spokeswomen for the BLF said: “The guidance on monitoring that Defra gives local authorities needs to be revised and strengthened. Parents should be able to tell what their children are breathing, especially if they have conditions like asthma.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “Children and teaching staff are not being made fully aware of the health risks posed by air pollution. Local authorities need clear guidance to monitor the air that children breathe as well as more resources and funding to tackle it.”
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of British Lung Foundation, added: “Children’s lung health is particularly vulnerable to air pollution, yet they are not being protected by the government’s air quality monitoring guidance. There is a huge discrepancy in the levels of monitoring outside schools across the country, with many schools in the most harmfully polluted places not being monitored.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Councils follow guidelines on monitoring air pollution which are laid down by central government. These are to take a risk-based approach – monitoring those locations where members of the public might be regularly exposed.
“As well as schools this could also include residential properties, hospitals and care homes – depending on which area is at greatest risk. Many schools are actually some distance from busy roads and therefore unlikely to have high air pollution levels.”
Accessibility is the name of this game. Web designers are getting better at addressing the issues, but general awareness of accessibility requirements is still low. This is worrying – websites that are not currently accessible are potentially breaching the Equality Act of 2010. One of the first places to look for help should be the Government Digital Service (GDS), which provides help, advice and guidance on legislation regarding accessibility.
It is surprisingly easy to start meeting the government’s accessibility requirements.
The Emergency Services Show is the UK’s leading annual showcase of the blue light sector, featuring over 450 exhibitors, live demonstrations, unique learning opportunities and unrivalled networking.
Poppy Welch looks at the role of local authorities in setting a green driving agenda and the schemes available to councils across England