Children at St Peter's Primary School in Waterlooville are celebrating after their efforts to travel to school under their own steam resulted in the area's first STARS (School Travel Accreditation & Recognition Scheme) Award.
Pupils took on the challenge to walk, cycle or scoot to school which has resulted in over 100 less car journeys to school each morning, improving congestion at peak times as well as the health and fitness of the children. In 12 months since the start of the programme, the percentage of children coming into school by sustainable means to St Peter's has increased from one of the worst rates in Hampshire at only 9% of pupils not being driven to school to 35% now coming to school without a car.
The School Travel Accreditation & Recognition Scheme (STARS) Award Modeshift STARS is a national school award and is the only national accreditation scheme for rewarding sustainable ways of travelling to school, such as walking, cycling or scooting.
Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: "Introducing the STARS scheme throughout Hampshire is an excellent way to help schools encourage their students to walk, cycle or scoot to school to cut down on congestion at busy times, help with fitness and save a bit of money too . St Peter's have achieved a significant reduction in the number of car journeys at peak times, which is a huge credit to the teachers, parents and children who have taken on this challenge."
The award was presented by County Councillor Robin McIntosh to Lorraine Phillips, Head Teacher of St Peter's at their weekly celebration assembly.
Mrs Phillips said: "I am absolutely delighted to accept this award on behalf of the school community. Children, parents and staff have really embraced the initiative despite the challenges of our wide catchment area and location on a busy road. We have worked hard but also had great fun with many of the activities and appreciate the tremendous support from the wider community, the Hampshire team, local police, businesses and residents. We are now aiming for silver and gold!"
All Schools can take in the Modeshift STARS programme, with easy access online to tools and resources to encourage sustainable and active travel. Schools can also access further support such as free scooter training, theatre shows, engineering advice, and school travel plan advice.
The 'My Journey' campaign is funded by the Department for Transport's Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The objectives of the Government's fund are to reduce congestion at peak times, and to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. These objectives will be met at a local level, through 'My Journey' initiatives to encourage less use of the private car and a more active lifestyle by encouraging walking, cycling, use of public transport or car sharing to travel around, particularly for local journeys.
The My Journey campaign for schools seeks to reduce school run congestion by encouraging pupils, students and parents to walk, use non motorised scooters, cycle, 'park and stride' or use local bus or train services to get to and from school or college. Using active forms of travel like walking and cycling to get from home to school or college can help pupils and students to stay fit, arrive more alert and refreshed, and is fun and sociable.
This latest campaign builds on the back on the County Council's successful School Travel Planning work, which helped to achieve a 12% decrease in car use and a 12% increase in walking between 2003 and 2013. This is equivalent to 20,400 fewer car journeys on the road every day.
To find out if your school is eligible for additional support, contact the County Council's School Travel Planning Team on 01962 845638 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have an area suitable for parking near a school and would like to offer it as a parking promise site, please get in touch with the School Travel Planning Team.