A study assessing the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in two primary schools in Birmingham, U.K. was performed. A questionnaire was delivered to pupils in both schools after which three open days were conducted in one of the schools, where probable asthmatics were identified and referred to their General Practitioner, Chest Clinic or a school asthma clinic. In this school 49% of responders and 52.9% in the control school were symptomless on questionnaire: 31% and 20.8%, respectively, had probable asthma, falling to 20% and 15.5% if a positive response to the question on recent recurrent wheeze was disregarded as indicating asthma. Using the total population as a denominator, the overall asthma prevalence was 20% which is significantly higher compared to previous English rates. Forty-two were seen at the Chest Clinic, 14 being followed for more than two visits. None were on regular anti-asthma treatment initially; 12/14 were taking prophylactic treatment on follow-up. In the two schools, 10.0% and 14.2% of responders were 'chesty' with 'colds' having no other typical asthmatic symptoms: these children should be studied further. This high incidence of respiratory symptoms in primary school children could represent a national trend or just a local increase.