Modeshift STARS Awards
It is a pleasure to be providing this week’s Sustainable Schools Alliance blog post. As a national membership organisation ourselves, Modeshift exists to share best practice in promotion and delivery of sustainable travel. We do this through a number of mechanisms but at the forefront of our delivery is the Modeshift STARS scheme.
Modeshift STARS is the national* schools awards scheme that has been established to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel. The scheme works with schools and local authorities throughout the country and the great news is it is FREE for schools to use.
The scheme was launched nationwide in September 2012 and was created to support the development of School Travel Plans and reward schools over three levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) for achieving a shift to sustainable modes of travel. STARS received the backing of the Department for Transport in November 2014 and is now recognised as the National School Travel Awards with 64 local authorities and almost 2,800 schools currently participating in the scheme.
At Modeshift we are very fortunate in that we get to see the unique and creative ways that schools are embedding a culture of sustainable travel across the school community. The benefits of which range far and wide including improvements in physical activity levels, boosting local air quality, reducing congestion, enhancing road safety, and contributing to improved health and social wellbeing for pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.
The highlight of our year is the National STARS School Travel Awards where we get to see the very best of our STARS schools come together to share their experiences and best practice. Our seven STARS Schools of the Region came together at the Houses of Parliament for the 2017 National Modeshift STARS School Travel Awards Reception in April this year to find out which schools would be named National STARS School of the Year.
Ladycross Infant School from Derbyshire and The Grammar School at Leeds received the Awards which were presented by Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary-under-Secretary of State for Transport.
Read on to see why our schools really are STARS!
National STARS Primary School of the Year – Ladycross Infant School, Derbyshire, The Midlands
Working closely with Derbyshire County Council’s Travel Smart programme, the school have demonstrated a 59% decrease in car use over the last 3-years from 27% in 2013/14 to just 16% in 2015/16. 5% of children now cycle to school and 15% are scooting. As well as participating in local and national travel campaigns, they also hold their own Healthy Week each year that focuses on safe and active travel. They publicise their activities via Twitter, sharing ideas and best practice to other schools in the County via the Learning Teaching Schools Alliance. They also work in partnership with parents and the local police Safer Neighbourhoods Team to engage and enthuse children to travel safely and actively to school, facilitating bike and scooter security marking and encouraging interaction from parents on their Twitter account to show their support for campaigns. As the first school to achieve Gold STARS in Derbyshire, their action and activities are the basis by which other schools follow to achieve the same.
National STARS Secondary School of the Year – The Grammar School at Leeds, Yorkshire & The Humber
The Grammar School at Leeds is a large independent through school with approximately 2,000 pupils aged 3-18. They have reduced car use by 18% over the last four academic years from 61% in 2012/13 to 52% in 2015/16. They have done this by using an innovative approach in creating GSAL Transport Limited, providing an in-house bus service that travels up to 30-miles for students to use on their journeys to school. The school now operate 11 routes and the names that are displayed on each of the buses were chosen following a competition among pupils who were asked to draw a picture of their perfect school bus. Over 250 entries were received!
Modeshift STARS is not about telling schools and individuals what they should and should not to do. Instead it is focussed on supporting schools to put together a unique package of measures that best suits the individual circumstances of the school and the community that is serves. We find that many schools are already delivering a significant amount of activity in this area and just need to record the information on the STARS portal in order to be recognised with national accreditation. The scheme is delivered through an online portal that schools and local authorities use to track the activity that is delivered and measure progress towards achieving national accreditation for their efforts.
The next deadline for you to get accredited is the 31st Julyso there is still plenty of time to complete your application. We would welcome any schools wanting to join the STARS family so if you are interested in taking part then please visit www.modeshiftstars.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*National = England (excluding London). Schools in London should refer to https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/