Community Overview

Nelson Infant School was opened in 1910 and built to take the overflow of children from the Church School in the grounds of Kneller Hall, housed in a large hut in Nelson Road. New buildings were completed in 1928, and there have been several additions since then.

Our exceptionally large playing field is a tremendous asset providing the children with a pleasant, green and open environment in which to learn and play.

We offer a Breakfast Club for our children from Reception to Year 6 from 7.35am to school start time each day. It provides safe and creative play and care for children before the school day begins. It is open on all school days and is located in the school gym.

We also offer a range of activity clubs for most year groups across lunchtimes and after school.

We are proud that our population reflects the local community. Our pupils represent six religions and English is an additional language for 35% of them, with 36 different languages spoken at home.

In September 2017 we joined with Latchmere School to become part of the Latchmere Academy Trust and have been working hard to develop strong relationships with our families and the wider community ever since.

As part of our Harvest Celebrations each year we invite representatives and leaders from the local community to attend a special assembly where we collect food for Richmond Food Bank. All of the children from nursery to year 6 enjoy the opportunity to sing beautifully for our visitors and we are always amazed by the generosity of our families.

This year we were extremely proud to have the St Georges Day parade start from our school. Taking part in these events enhances the learning opportunities for our children in subjects such as PSHE, English, Music, Drama, Art and Design. Encouraging our children and families to take part helps to create a greater awareness of social responsibility and enables us to celebrate community cohesion.
Nelson Air Quality Audit

AQ information for Schools’ webpages – Nelson Primary

See our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below for more information, including What is air pollution and How is it measured?

Why do we need to be aware of local air pollution?

Everyone is affected by breathing in air pollution throughout their life, but you may not be aware of it because it is mostly invisible. Children are more susceptible than adults to the effects of air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they have faster breathing rates. Also, because they are shorter or in a pushchair they are often closer to the source of pollution, such as car emissions, so may breath in more pollution.

Air pollution and health

A study of London school children found that children in polluted areas had smaller lungs than those living where the air is clearer. It has also been linked by researchers at Imperial College London to other problems such as lack of concentration, hyperactivity and mental health issues.

Anyone with Asthma (or other respiratory conditions) may have noticed that air pollution can make their symptoms worse or trigger an asthma attack. The school now receives airTEXT notifications about air quality levels which ensure staff are aware and prepared at times when asthma attacks are more likely to occur. Parents and carers of children with asthma can also sign-up to receive free airTEXT notifications (via email or txt).

Air pollution monitoring

There is a monitoring site in Nelson Road close to the school, which measures two of the most common pollutants, Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM2.5). The real-time results can be viewed on the Breathe London website for any date range you input after 3rd January 2023 (when it was installed).

School Travel Planning

How children travel to school is really important both for the children’s health and wellbeing, and because it can impact local air pollution. Research has shown that children can be exposed to higher levels of air pollution when travelling to and from school by car, than when walking along quieter streets, This is most likely during the morning rush hour, when traffic levels are higher.

You can take action to lower your air pollution exposure and contributions during travel to and from school by walking, cycling or scootering (known as active travel) and using low-pollution side roads when you do.

We encourage active travel because it helps avoid car emissions (which add to air pollution around our school) and can help increase fitness levels and reduce obesity. Nelson Primary School has a silver accreditation in TfL’s STARS programme - each year STARS schools replace 13 million miles of car journeys with active travel! We also register our year 6 pupils for Richmond Council’s free cycling training.

When your journey to or from school must include a busier road, using the part of the pavement furthest away from traffic can help reduce exposure to traffic related air pollution. You can use an online low-pollution route finder to help reduce your exposure to air pollution and also a free air pollution alert service, which texts or emails you when air pollution is forecast to be high, which is especially important for people with asthma.

Want more information about active travel in our borough?

Engine Idling

Traffic is one of the major sources of air pollution in our borough, so reducing emissions from traffic around schools is a high priority. Engine idling is easily avoided by switching off when stationary and remembering to do it whenever you’re in the school area. For more information see the Council’s idling web pages.

To help raise awareness of idling and other activities that pollute, we work with Council to educate our children about air quality. This includes learning about the health impacts of poor air quality and local sources of air pollution through workshops, and Council Officer visits at drop off and collection times to talk to drivers who park close to the school.

Watch this online video which introduces air pollution as a public health problem and suggests ways to make the air we breathe cleaner and safer.

School Air Quality Audit

Richmond Council’s air quality team carried out an audit in and around the school in October 2022. The Officers spent time researching and visiting the school in order to:

  • Identify sources of outdoor air pollution and potential exposure by the school children
  • Check emissions from boilers and heating/cooling systems within the school site
  • Increase awareness of air pollution including how personal actions can influence emission levels and exposure
  • Meet with key school staff to share information and discuss any concerns
  • Deliver a report summarising their findings, highlighting the school’s good practices and provide bespoke recommendations for reducing emissions and exposure to air pollution around the school

The recommendations proposed after auditing Nelson Primary school include:

  • Adding a green screen at the school perimeter in Runnymede Close adjacent to the Reception playground to help reduce and filter fumes and to improve safeguarding.
  • Continuing to encourage students to walk, cycle and scoot to school and to use less polluted routes away from main roads when possible.
  • Ventilating classrooms close to Nelson road via upper windows, and when children are not present and traffic levels are low.
  • Ensuring that cleaning is carried out in the evening and minimises the use sprays to reduce pollution and exposure by children.
  • Reducing deliveries by amalgamating orders whenever possible.
  • Working with the Council to raise awareness of engine-idling in the school community.

Environmental Campaigns

We support National campaigns such as Walk to School Week (May), Clean Air Day (in June), and Car Free Day and Cycle to School Week (both in September). We organise activities such as ‘Golden lock’ and enter competitions being run by the organisers or the local Council.


Frequently Asked Questions (ideally use with concertina formatting)

What is air pollution?

Air pollution refers to the condition of the air around us and whether it contains pollutants (chemicals or materials that are not normally there). It is usually invisible but we can sometimes smell it. The two main pollutants are:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas which is often produced after fuel is burnt and when you breath it in, it can cause coughing, wheezing or difficulty breathing in the short term. Longer exposures may contribute to the development of asthma and respiratory infections.

Particulate matter (PM) are specks of solid material or liquid that are suspended in the air and most can only be seen with a microscope. All PM can be bad for our health when breathed in, but especially the very fine particles which can get deep into your lungs and then your blood and so be carried around the body to all your organs.

Where does air pollution come from?

Most of the air pollution in London is man-made, being produced mainly by heating of buildings (especially houses and burning solid fuels); road traffic; and non-road machinery (such as that used in construction). In congested areas such as around the A316 Chertsey Road, a lot of the air pollution (both NO2 and PM) comes from large volumes of traffic and exhaust emissions from older and diesel vehicles.

We also get air pollution blown in by the wind from outside London and even beyond the UK, often from farming and industry. All of the pollution mentioned so far occurs outside, but there is also indoor pollution which mostly comes from cooking and heating, cleaning chemicals and personal hygiene products, as well as new carpets, new furniture and paint. Ventilating a room when you create these pollutants is very important and can be as simple as opening a window or switching a kitchen or bathroom fan on.

How does air pollution affect our health?

Being exposed to air pollution every day can have a bad effect on your health, particularly children because their lungs are still developing. The effects of bad air pollution have been shown to include harm to the brain, heart and immune system (which fights against infection). Over the long term air pollution can reduce the lung development of children and affect their ability to learn. Air pollution is also dangerous for older people and those with existing health issues such as asthma, other lung problems (for example bronchitis) and heart conditions.

How can we measure air pollution?

Air pollution is monitored across the borough using 64 diffusion tubes (measuring NO2), 20 Breath London sensors (measuring NO2 and PM10) and two larger automatic monitoring sites (measuring NO2 and PM10). One is on Castelnau (a ‘roadside’ location) and one is in the London Wetlands Centre (a ‘background’ location).

The data from the long-term diffusion tubes is released each year in the Council’s Air Quality Annual Summary Reports and the data are used to create online Annual Average Nitrogen Dioxide maps of the borough. The data from the automatic monitoring sites is analysed by Imperial College London and with other sites, is used to make a map of current air pollution across London.

In 2022 the Council started a project to monitor air pollution for one year outside of schools in the borough. The whole project will take three years to complete, but Nelson Primary was in the first group to be monitored and you can see the results for 2022 on the Council website – scroll down to choose the results for each pollutant.   

Photos from Nelson Primary school audit: