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A primary school in Keynsham has been recognised with a national award for its efforts to encourage pupils to walk and cycle to school and reduce the impact of traffic on the school run.

Castle Primary School, in Newlands Road, was awarded a Bronze level Modeshift STARS award. The scheme recognises schools that demonstrate excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable transport.

Teachers, pupils and parents have been working with Bath & North East Somerset Council and local developers to create a ‘healthy street’ outside the school. As a result a new shared use foot and cycle path, connecting the school with the new housing development at Bilbie Green has been constructed.

The new specially widened path, which enables children to cycle safely to and from school, alongside pedestrians, was built by the council with funding from the developer Taylor Wimpey. It is the first step in what will become a network of sustainable routes between homes and key destinations in Keynsham.

Councillor Mark Shelford, cabinet member for Transport and Environment, who presented the school with the award, said: “Choosing active travel for the school run, such as cycling or walking, is better for children’s health, saves parents money and helps to reduce congestion and air pollution around the school gates. I am delighted to present the school with its Bronze accreditation, which is the result of consistent work to deliver sustainable travel initiatives with pupils. Modeshift STARS is free to all schools and I would encourage any schools within Bath and North East Somerset not already participating to join.”

Chris Cannings, Head teacher at Castle Primary, said: “Having successfully been re-accredited to Bronze level with Modeshift STARS we now hope that improvements in local infrastructure, such as the new shared path, will enable us to aim higher in the future. Research has shown that active travel to school, such as walking or cycling, wakes up the mind and body and results in increased concentration so the benefits will not just stop outside the school gates.”

Press release by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

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