South Gloucestershire schools top national league table for sustainable and active travel

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Chris Jelf, Deputy Head at Little Stoke Primary School with pupils from the school celebrating Modeshift STARS 'outstanding' accreditation.

South Gloucestershire schools have been named top of the Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools) league table for large local authority areas.

Modeshift STARS reward schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting sustainable and active travel. South Gloucestershire Council has been taking part since March 2020 and has moved into top position out of 77 other local authority areas registered across the country in 2024.

There are now 34 South Gloucestershire schools and nurseries accredited, with another school achieving the highest Outstanding (formerly known as Platinum) award this year. In total, South Gloucestershire now has 2 schools classed as Outstanding, 1 Excellent (formerly known as Gold), 5 Very Good (formerly known as Silver), 22 Good (formerly known as Bronze), and 4 Approved (formerly known as Green).

Little Stoke Primary School becomes the second school in district to gain Outstanding Modeshift STARS accreditation. The school has worked tirelessly over the past two years promoting and encouraging active travel and has achieved over 83 per cent of pupils walking, cycling, and scooting to school with car use dropping from 36.17 per cent to 14.43 per cent, since gaining Modeshift accreditation.

St Anne’s CE VC Primary in Oldland Common, St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Primary in Downend and St Mary’s CE VA Primary in Thornbury have risen to ‘very good’ and Charlton Wood Primary Academy and Wick CE Primary add to the number of schools with Modeshift accreditation gaining ‘good’.

South Gloucestershire Council funds new infrastructure to help support more active travel for schools that successfully gain Modeshift STARS accreditation by the end of the year. For 24-25 schools that achieve Good receive £1500, Very Good £4,000, Excellent £6,000 and Outstanding schools £7,000.

Schools will be able to choose from a variety of items such as scooter and cycle storage, lockers for pupils, outdoor parent shelters and seating, depending on the level of accreditation achieved. The Ridge Junior School in Yate has created an area for cyclists to wait whilst the school gates open and purchased a new cycle shelter and scooter storage to accommodate more children now actively travelling to school.

Councillor Louise Harris, cabinet member with responsibility for the climate and nature emergency, said: “We are delighted with this news and it’s an honour to be top of the Modeshift STARS league for large local authority areas. It’s an achievement which is down to our fantastic schools and the commitment and engagement of their amazing pupils. Not only does the scheme support the environment by reducing car journeys, it encourages children to be healthy and active while reducing school run congestion, and improving air quality.

“Our Road Safety & Sustainable Travel team has been busy supporting individual schools with their active and sustainable transport journeys, and the team and I want to thank those schools for working so hard to encourage more children to walk, cycle, or scoot on a daily basis.”

Chris Jelf, Deputy Head at Little Stoke Primary School, said: “It has been great to see the whole school community work together to achieve the platinum award. The children have taken an active part in various workshops and initiatives, and we have seen a huge increase in the amount of sustainable, active travel to school. Through the awards, we have been able to access additional funding to improve our physical resources and it is lovely to see these used on a daily basis – even with the unpredictable British weather! We hope to continue to embed this work into our curriculum in the future to have a positive impact on the school community.”

Full details on the league can be found on the Modeshift website Latest STARS Education League Tables, March 2024 – Modeshift STARS.