As part of its aim to promote active travel in schools, TfL (Transport for London) launched an initiative called STARS.
STARS – Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe – is an accreditation scheme for schools, nurseries and colleges to inspire the whole school community to travel sustainably, actively, responsibly and safely, and in turn make a big difference to the wellbeing and health of children. It engages and empowers pupils to participate in active travel behaviour; including cycling, walking, scooting and using public transport.
St Elizabeth’s School Travel Plan
St Elizabeth’s submitted its second School Travel Plan to TfL in 2017, and has been accredited a Gold Award. Achieving the Gold accreditation demonstrates that a school facilitates and promotes active and safe travel to the whole school community, and promotes an alternative form of travel to using the private car.
Through many initiatives to promote active travel, St Elizabeth’s has achieved its main objectives, including:
- Improve the health of pupils by encouraging active travel, and reduce harmful emissions;
- Improve the environment by reducing congestion, thereby pollution and CO2 emissions, and at the same time improve facilities for walkers and cyclists;
- Improve safety through highways engineering measures and raise awareness through road safety education;
- Improve access and opportunity by developing pupils’ skills for safe travel.
A Hands Up Survey in October 2016 of all St Elizabeth’s School and St Elizabeth’s Nursery pupils showed that 51% of pupils are using an alternative form of transport other than the private car to travel to and from school each day. The results: 26% of pupils walk to school, 8% of pupils travel on their scooter, 5% of pupils have a car share arrangement, 5% of pupils travel by public bus, 4% of pupils ‘Park & Stride’ and 3% of pupils cycle to school.
In 2016, St Elizabeth’s School Travel Plan identified a target to reduce car usage by 2%, as well as increase active and sustainable travel by 2%, by 2017.
By July 2017, the school had met its targets and achieved the following:
- 3% reduction in car travel, thereby using other means of travel to and from school;
- 1% increase in pupils walking to and from school;
- 2% increase in pupils cycling to and from school;
- 4% increase in pupils using ‘Park & Stride’.
The school has identified new targets, which are to increase car share arrangements by 2% and increase use of public transport by 2%, by 2018. In doing so, single car usage will decrease.
St Elizabeth’s is working with TfL and the London Borough of Richmond on ways to alleviate congestion during drop off and collection times. The London Borough of Richmond is also providing funding to schools in the borough, including St Elizabeth’s, for resources and activities that help to promote active travel to children, such as badges, hi-viz vests, pedometers and balance bicycles.
Throughout the school year, there are many activities to promote active travel to pupils including ‘Walk to School Week’, Scooter and Cycling Proficiency, Pedestrian Skills Training, School Sponsored Walk, Road Safety Talks and curriculum classes and assemblies focusing on the environment and health benefits of active travel.
Where possible, St Elizabeth’s uses safe modes of transport for school journeys and educational visits, including public bus, trains and walking.
Parents are encouraged to use active travel to and from school with their children on a daily basis. If the car is the chosen form of transport, parents are asked to consider using the ‘Park & Stride’ initiative with the local Sainsbury’s Supermarket on Manor Road/Lower Richmond Road with a 3 hour parking allocation, or car share arrangements where possible.
St Elizabeth’s School Travel Champion is Mrs Nadia Galindo-Slim, elected parent school governor. A School Travel Working Group has been formed with Mrs Jane Hines, Headteacher, and Mrs Kerry Diver, Deputy Headteacher, with pupil representation from Year 6 in the form of Junior Travel Officers.