Lady Eleanor Holles helps develop SAMHE project so UK school children can study their classroom air quality
  • STEM
  • Science
  • Senior

Teachers and pupils at Lady Eleanor Holles have helped scientists design and test an exciting new research project. SAMHE (pronounced ‘Sammy’!) stands for Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education. It offers schools a free air quality monitor linked to an interactive Web App, enabling staff and students to view and investigate data on their classroom air quality.

SAMHE is now ready for launch! From the week of 24 April schools are invited to register as a SAMHE school. They will receive a free high-spec air quality monitor that measures carbon dioxide (CO2), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), particulate matter (PM), temperature and relative humidity. Through the SAMHE Web App, teachers and pupils can view the data in a range of interactive chart and graph formats and see how air quality changes over the course of hours, days or weeks and months. The App also offers a range of curriculum-linked activities and experiments using the data, creating opportunities for pupils to be scientists and do hands-on experiments with their monitor. Poor air quality impacts pupils’ health and attention levels, so it is important it is monitored and understood.

SAMHE has been designed WITH and FOR schools. Lady Eleanor Holles is one of 120 ‘Pioneer Schools’ which helped test and refine a beta version of the Web App.

Lady Eleanor Holles participated in regular online feedback sessions with the SAMHE team to discuss the operation of the air quality monitor and the functionality of the Web App. Students report being very impressed at how thoroughly the developers responded to their input.

SAMHE is a very easy system to navigate and Lady Eleanor Holles has really enjoyed working with it. It provides access to a tremendous amount of easy to access information in a highly user friendly format.

“Our pupils loved being able to explore the changes they caused to air quality simply by doing a few simple exercises. The changing colours on the monitor and the rapid updating of the online graphs give excellent real-time feedback.” – Andy Brittain (STEM Co-ordinator – Lady Eleanor Holles)

“The input of teachers and pupils has been critical to ensuring that the SAMHE meets schools’ needs and is fun and engaging for pupils.” - Dr Sarah West (schools engagement lead for SAMHE), Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York

SAMHE is a citizen science project. As well as being available to the school, air quality data from the monitor is collated in a national database and made available to scientists. Six research organisations are collaborating to deliver the project, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and support from the Department for Education.

The SAMHE team hopes to recruit 1500+ schools covering the full range of school types, sizes, locations and building styles. This will provide sufficient data to understand schools’ air quality across the UK.

“Our overall aim is to understand and improve long-term air quality for all schools and provide evidence for better national policies and practice.” - Dr Henry Burridge (project lead for SAMHE), Imperial College London

Would YOUR school like to get involved? Register at And don’t hang around - the first 100 schools to register will receive an additional launch pack of stickers and posters!

Key info on SAMHE


  • is pronounced 'Sammy'!

  • stands for Schools' Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education

  • offers UK schools a free air quality monitor linked to an interactive educational Web App

  • launches w/c 24 April 2023

  • is a research project led by Imperial College London,the University of Cambridge and SEI at the University of York, with the University of Leeds, the University of Surrey and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)

  • aims to establish a network of air quality monitors in c. 1500 schools across the UK, creating an unparalleled dataset to help researchers better understand schools' indoor air quality

  • is funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and supported by Department for Education

  • is important because poor air quality impacts pupils’ health and attention levels, affecting attendance and attainment.

SAMHE stands for Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education and brings together scientists, pupils and teachers. SAMHE is establishing a network of air quality monitors in schools across the UK, to generate an unparalleled dataset which will help researchers better understand schools’ indoor air quality.

SAMHE Background

The quality of our air is important. After all, around 10,000 litres of air passes through each person’s body every day. However, air often contains pollutants that can have impacts on our health, ability to concentrate and levels of attainment. Young people spend lots of time at school so we want to make sure that the air in classrooms is good, and give schools access to data that will enable both students and teachers to make informed decisions about ventilation.