This month, during International Walk to School Month, schools from across the country will be recognised as pillars of excellence for their efforts to promote more walking and cycling to school. In Chesterfield, Westfield Infants and Brockwell Junior schools are fully behind the scheme following a pilot programme last year.
In 2015, a total of 347 schools nationally have so far achieved Modeshift STARS accreditation in recognition of their efforts to encourage their pupils to travel to school in greener, healthier and safer ways. The STARS scheme recognises schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.
During October, STARS Regional Awards events will take place across the country at which schools will be recognised and rewarded for their commitment to the scheme. Awards will be distributed to schools of excellence in promoting walking and cycling and other forms of sustainable transport, whilst from each Region, STARS Schools of the Region will be identified who will be pitted against one another to become the National STARS School of the Year.
After receiving funding to become the National School Travel Awards scheme in November 2014, the Modeshift STARS scheme has expanded to include 52 local authorities and more than 11,000 schools nationally. The scheme, part of Active Travel, has gone down well with the pilot schools in Chesterfield.
Ms Lenthall, of Brockwell Junior School, said: “It’s fantastic and well organised scheme to be a part of, which really highlights the benefits of active travel. Through the scheme, we found that not only the children, but also their entire families were becoming more involved with travelling actively. The children loved being able to travel to school on bikes as well as scooters and couldn’t wait to record their achievements and track their progress against their pledges. The ‘Golden Padlock’ really sparked enthusiasm and certainly helped with the percentage of children changing their mode of transport.”
Mr Whitham, of Westfield Infants School, said: “Undertaking the Modeshift STARS award scheme has helped to raise the importance and profile of travelling in a sustainable way. Children loved the engaging assembly to kick start the program. More and more of our children are coming to school on scooters and bikes, we are even looking into purchasing a new bike shelter to hold all the bikes!”
Schools are able to achieve three levels of Modeshift STARS accreditation – Bronze, Silver and Gold – and are rewarded with the Modeshift STARS plaque and certificate to display in their school, use of the nationally recognised Modeshift STARS logo and the opportunity to be put forward for the Regional and National School of the Year Awards.
In the summer of 2013, the Prime Minister announced a number of supportive measures for cycling to be delivered in the coming years. This included a National Schools Awards scheme to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling and walking. Modeshift was awarded funding in November 2014 to deliver the National School Travel Awards Scheme.