Allendale Primary students and staff receiving their award

Schools top the region for sustainable travel

Northumberland schools have topped the region for the second year running for the work they do to encourage pupils to travel to school sustainably.

At the Modeshift STARS Schools of the Region Awards 2019 Allendale won the Best Primary School category, Berwick’s Tweedmouth Middle the Best Middle/Secondary and Barndale House School in Alnwick the Local Authority SEND School of the Year.

Hareside Primary School in Cramlington was also shortlisted in the Best Primary category. 

Allendale Primary School has worked with Northumberland County Council to improve road safety outside the school and with the North Pennines AONB to create a new path so that pupils can access the school from the other side of the village, so reducing the number of cars outside the school gate and encouraging parents and pupils to ‘park and stride’.  They have also taken part in initiatives like Bikeability, Walk on Wednesdays and Walk to School Week and hold cycle playtimes encouraging pupils to bring their cycles and scooters to school and then use them during the school day.

Tweedmouth Community Middle continues to raise the profile of sustainable travel, taking part in The Big Pedal, Bike Week, Walk to School Week and also being involved in the celebrations for the start of stage 3 of the Tour of Britain from Berwick to Newcastle. During the Big Pedal the school achieved an average of 74% of pupils cycling over the five day challenge and also held other activities such as Superhero Days, Bling Your Bikes and Bikers Breakfasts using events to raise funds to improve their cycle and scooter storage facilities.  

Barndale House School has delivered some amazing initiatives to raise awareness of the benefits of active travel including cycle training and setting up park and strides from the town car parks.  They have also developed their own Marathon Walk initiative which encourages pupils to walk a mile during their lunchtime walking club until they have walked 26 miles and achieved a marathon.

Schools are nominated by their local authorities for demonstrating best practice in the promotion of sustainable school travel, with all nominated schools invited to attend the regional awards where the schools of the local authority and the schools of the region are announced.
Paul Jones, director of local services at Northumberland County Council said: “These schools are shining examples of how different types of school can all successfully promote sustainable and active travel. They have truly embraced the principles of effective travel planning and shown excellence in putting this into practice.  As well as giving children important life skills their work has resulted in a reduction in the number of cars at the school gates each day.”
Allendale Primary School headteacher Alison Hawkins said: “We are so proud to win both Northumberland Primary School of the year and Regional School of the Year. It is a credit to the efforts of our children, parents, staff and governors, who have all contributed to providing safe, sustainable and active travel to and from school and continue to develop and support our initiatives.”
Tweedmouth Community Middle School headteacher Ben Hulbert said:  “We are thrilled to have been gained this regional award for our work towards Modeshift STARS.  The whole school, students, staff and parents, have all been instrumental  in achieving it.  
“As a school, we work very hard to continue to improve the number of students, staff and parents who travel to school sustainably.  Our Green Ambassadors have played a vital role in promoting various initiatives, such as The Big Pedal, Bikers Breakfast, Walk to School Week and many more."
Modeshift STARS, which is supported by the Department for Transport, is a national school travel awards scheme that has been established to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable travel for the journey to and from school. 

It is free for schools to use and has an online platform that can create a school travel plan, log sustainable travel activities and help schools work towards Modeshift STARS National Accreditation. 69 local authorities across the country participate in the scheme representing around 15,000 schools. 
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