The country’s premier active travel organisation for schools has finished its first year of its nationwide scheme. Modeshift STARS aims to get children, parents and teachers travelling to and from school in a sustainable and healthy way.
Having begun in London, by September 2012, the Modeshift STARS system was launched nationwide to authorities outside of the capital. The scheme was created to support the development of School Travel Plans and reward schools over three levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) for achieving modal shift to sustainable modes of travel.
On 6th November 2014, the Department for Transport announced a support grant of £184,000 over 2-years to expand the Modeshift STARS scheme to every school in England outside of London. This funding has enabled more schools and authorities to take part in the scheme whilst allowing Modeshift the opportunity to employ staff to effectively manage the vast majority of the operations linked to the delivery of Modeshift STARS.
Over 2,600 individuals have registered on the Modeshift STARS website as users of the scheme and 346 schools nationally have achieved Modeshift STARS accreditation.
The scheme has been piloted at Brockwell Junior and Westfield Infants schools in Chesterfield and delivered by the Chesterfield School Sport Partnership alongside Derbyshire County Council and Sustrans, a national charity dedicated to sustainable travel.
Brockwell led a number of initiative, including ‘Scooter Smart’ training run by the County Council, and ‘Bikeability’ delivered by local cycling safety experts, Wheely Fun Wheels. The school achieved great results with 82% of pupils walking, cycling or scooting to school on a daily basis.
Miss Lenthall, of Brockwell Junior School, said: “It’s a 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.”
Similarly, Westfield achieved great results and more than doubled the amount of pupils who were walking, cycling or scooting to school on a daily basis. They did this through initiatives such as combined parent and pupil assemblies to get families on board with the scheme and increase their chances of maintaining such high levels of involvement.
Both schools received the Bronze Award and are working towards achieving the Silver Award by the end of the academic year.
Away from Chesterfield, ten schools in Derbyshire achieved the Bronze Award and three the Silver. Nationwide, STARS accredited schools reduced car use by an average of 16% between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
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