Pupils at St Augustine’s School, Scarborough, have been getting fit and helping the environment by cycling, scooting or walking to school during the fortnight leading up to the end of the school year.
The school linked up with our sustainable travel team’s Open Scarborough project, which is helping people to replace car journeys where possible with walking, cycling or using public transport.
Pupils were encouraged to travel to and from school on foot, by bicycle or by scooter. Each time they did so, they collected a raffle ticket for a draw to win a Fitbit provided by the travel team.
Participants were also given free walking and cycling gear. Free Bikeability cycle training was also offered by the county council’s road safety team along with bike security marking by the police.
All those who took part on all ten days received a certificate on the last day of term (Friday, 19 July). Certificates were presented by Mayor of the Borough of Scarborough Cllr Hazel Lynskey, local County Councillor Liz Colling, local District Councillor Neil Robinson and former district councillor Dilys Cluer. The draw for the Fitbit was won by Killian Mannan.
Teacher Chris Goode, who is also a keen cyclist, said the number of children cycling or scooting to school had almost doubled over the fortnight.
He said: “We recently opened a new cycle shed, but this week it was full and so was the supplementary cycle rack. Ideally, we need a further covered area. We would also like to create a scooting pod, so children can park their scooters safely.”
He said the project had been worthwhile and there were a wide range of benefits to cycling, scooting or walking to school rather than travelling by car, including greater independence, improved health, better air quality and less congestion.
“It has been fabulous, with really good support from the County Council,” he said. “The children have really enjoyed it.”
One boy who travels by bus got the driver to stop before reaching the school, so that everyone could walk the final third of a mile.
The school will keep the momentum going with a road safety assembly early in the new school year, more Bikeability training in October and possibly an organised cycle ride outside school hours.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “I’m delighted that the students have embraced this competition and commend the staff involved for their efforts. We hope that after seeing what St Augustine’s has achieved in a short time other schools will follow in their stride and think about what they can do to increase active travel on the school run.
“We look forward to seeing St Augustine’s finalise their work towards the Bronze Award accreditation through Modeshift STARS, which we would encourage all schools to sign up to. This is a free platform that recognises excellence in promoting active and sustainable travel and offers ideas for reducing congestion, improving road safety and helping the environment.
County Councillor Liz Colling, Member for Falsgrave and Stepney division, who attended the presentation at the school, said: “It’s great to see the young people embracing this challenge, but of course it’s easy to walk, cycle or scoot in the warm summer months. I hope the children will reflect on what they have achieved through the changes they’ve made over these two weeks and carry them forward into the rest of the year, even when the weather isn’t so good.”
Cllr Colling has also offered to spend part of her locality budget – a sum of money each county councillor has to spend on community projects – to help to provide more covered cycle storage at the school.