Schools across South Gloucestershire have received top accolades for promoting and encouraging pupils to walk, scoot or cycle to school through Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools) accreditation and will receive additional council funding for active travel facilities.
In addition to the 13 local schools from the area already involved, nine more have recently signed up to the free national accreditation scheme that recognises schools and other educational settings that have shown excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable and active travel. Those taking part develop a live school travel plan using an online portal and find ways to encourage more of their students and staff to use sustainable methods of transport to get to school each day.
Each school attaining accreditation this year will also receive additional funding from the council to help build active travel infrastructure such as cycle and scooter storage, lockers, seating, or parent waiting shelters. Schools that achieve bronze receive £1,000, those achieving silver receive £3,000 and gold and platinum schools receive £5,000.
In the most recent round of accreditation, a number of participating schools have been recognised for their efforts with the highest grades available. Barley Close Community Primary School in Mangotsfield is the first South Gloucestershire school to reach the highest level – platinum, and is one of just 51 schools across England to reach this achievement. The Ridge Junior School in Yate is the first in the area to gain gold, one of just 66 schools across England. The Castle School in Thornbury is the first secondary in South Gloucestershire to achieve silver, and the first nursery to receive silver in the area is Natural Choice Nursery in Alveston. Five more schools also gained bronze – Little Stoke Primary, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary, Old Sodbury CofE Primary, The Meadows Primary and Yate Academy.
The schools have held special awards ceremonies with Councillor Erica Williams, cabinet member responsible for schools at South Gloucestershire Council, where they were presented with a banner to celebrate their achievements.
Barley Close Community Primary School, Mangotsfield
Is the first school in South Gloucestershire to gain platinum, the Outstanding Travel Plan award. Over the past four years Barley Close has been working hard on promoting active and sustainable travel to school seeing a reduction of car use from 50 per cent in 2016/17 to 17.5 per cent in 2021/22 and an increase of active travel (walking, cycling, scooting and Park & Stride) from 50 per cent in 2016/17 up to 80.5 per cent in 2021/22, that’s a 61 per cent increase.
The Ridge Junior School, Yate
Is the first school to reach gold, the Excellent Travel Plan award. Starting in the summer of 2021 the school quickly reached silver by Christmas 2021 and within the year has reached gold. During the year they’ve been working on Modeshift STARS, the school has seen a decrease in car usage by 22 per cent and an increase of 10 per cent in active travel.
The Castle School, Thornbury
Is the first secondary school to gain silver, the Very Good Travel Plan award after receiving bronze in 2021. The school has implemented a range of initiatives encouraging students to travel actively and sustainably with a drop in car usage by nine per cent and an increase in public transport by 28 per cent.
Little Stoke Primary School, Little Stoke
Is one of five schools in this round to gain bronze accreditation, the Good Travel Plan award.