Sholing Junior School and Swaythling Primary School have received a Gold award from Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation Scheme) for their exceptional efforts in promoting cycling, walking and scooting on the school run – resulting in a noticeable reduction in car usage around the school gates.
Presenting the award at Sholing Junior School and Swaythling Junior School on Wednesday 18 April, Sam Fox, Service Lead for Infrastructure, Planning and Development for Southampton City Council said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the measures that both Sholing Junior School and Swaythling Junior School are implementing to encourage more parents and guardians to consider sustainable transport on the school run. The initiatives, supported by My Journey, are helping to enhance these safer, healthy travel habits – and by walking, scooting, or cycling to school we can help to reduce congestion outside our school gates and improve air quality across Southampton.’
To receive a Gold award by Modeshift STARS, a school must successfully demonstrate that travelling sustainably is becoming the norm for pupils and their families – which should reflect in a 5% reduction in car usage over a 5-year period. This is a challenging target and schools have to work hard to achieve it.
In order to earn the Gold award, Sholing took the following steps:
Participated in Sustrans’ Big Pedal Competition in 2017, with 49% of pupils arriving to school by bike or scooter within the 5-day competition window. These results won Sholing Juniors first place amongst schools in the Southampton area and third place overall in the South East of England
Sholing Juniors have a dedicated group of Junior Travel Ambassadors who meet once a week after school to plan and run sustainable travel initiatives, supported by My Journey (the sustainable travel brand of Southampton City Council.) These initiatives include implementing an air quality project, as well as a ‘No Idling’ campaign for parents
The school’s Travel Champion, Angela Manore, has additionally demonstrated an exceptional amount of effort in researching and running the sustainable travel incentives for pupils and families.
Swaythling Primary School have also achieved consistently positive results:
My Journey representatives have helped to measure air quality around the school site using diffusion tubes – and following the project, car usage rates drastically reduced from 47% in 2014 to 22% in 2018
Staff and pupils at Swaythling Primary have participated in a range of challenges and initiatives to inspire travel behaviour change – including Walk to School Week, scooter skills training as well as running a school bike club
Both schools celebrated with an air-quality themed walk and assembly, run by theatre education company Histrionics. Each school chose the theme of their walk and assembly to be air quality, in recognition of the diffusion tubes projects that they have both taken part in.
In addition to its environmental benefits, students at these schools who walk, scoot or cycle to school also get at least a quarter of their recommended daily activity.
Dr Jason Horsley, Director of Public Health, Southampton City Council, said:
'Getting students moving and active for at least 60 minutes a day is a very important part of their school day and helps improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Walking, biking or scooting to and from school is a wonderful way for kids to stay active and healthy, so it is very encouraging to see how Sholing Junior School and Swaythling Primary School have embraced them for their students. I commend them for their achievement.'
If you would like to learn more about getting your school involved in the Modeshift STARS programme, please visit the My Journey website.