For many, making resolutions is aligned strictly with something we seek individually. It conjures up memories of well-meaning diets and new gym memberships. For schools and the communities they represent, January might be the beginning of the year, but it isn’t the beginning of your academic year.
Why should you make active travel resolutions?
Contextually speaking, targets for physical education, academic subjects, and rising cases of COVID-19, there has never been a better time to make plans for active travel. At this time of year, making changes will not only affect a single academic year but will inform the next.
Active travel at its best encompasses wider outcomes that can benefit your school. Pupils opting to walk, cycle, or scoot to school, will reduce congestion and improve your schools’ air quality and increase the time children spend being active. Statistically, schools with more physically active children are calmer and more attentive. Better yet, you can use these simple initiatives to create a more environmentally carbon-neutral future.
To escape the curse of forgotten or broken resolutions, use the guides, toolkits, and organisations available to you. Use them to help you measure, manage and evaluate the steps you make toward a more active future.
Invest in your community
Unlike traditional resolutions that we tend to tackle as individuals, making the commitment to active travel is one you make within a community. When looking at journeys to and from school, you need to have the involvement of parents, staff, and external partners. An average two-mile journey, for example, may better suit a set of wheels, so consistent consultation can only strengthen your foundation.
The Modeshift STARS initiative epitomises that community element. Partner with First Step Cycle, and your school can bring consistency to your active travel provision. With our proposed initiatives, you can market to parents, consult on your options with staff and stakeholders, and have provision for classes in pedestrian, road, and cycle skills.
Your staff is essential here too. Many of the most successful active travel programmes in schools have an engaged team at the helm. Engaged teachers can use examples of active travel in lessons or introduce example anecdotes into their teaching of core subjects. They can teach the benefits to their environment, discuss safety from strangers and learn the positives of a healthy active lifestyle.
Employing safety measures
Safety is one of the core reasons parents choose public transport or personal vehicles. It may not often be a core element of making resolutions but it’s the first thing to consider when getting parents on board with active travel. Simple safety measures can make a difference to your active travel targets.
Safety measures include cycle sheds for keeping bikes and scooters safe, and workshops or lessons on road safety around schools. Whilst the average journey for children has risen, 76% of primary school children still undertake journeys under 2 miles. This distance is perfect for active travel when the proper safety precautions are taken.
These types of measures not only reassure parents that children understand how to stay safe on the roads but it’s an easy way to disseminate your pupils’ premium. Investments in bikes and scooters can be protected whilst simultaneously giving them practicable understanding in, for example, how to cross roads on foot and signal left and right on bikes.
Learning active travel skills
Lessons and workshops for bike riding, scooting and pedestrian safety should be your number one priority. They’re great for the pupils involved but more than that, they set a precedent for your whole school community that making a significant contribution to active travel can start with their regular journeys.
First Step Cycle can provide a host of options here. From workshops that introduce children to basic bike maintenance to pedestrian safety lessons, you can use them to meet your targets for Modeshift STARS and as a viable way to spend your pupil premium. Each set of lessons allows children to get to know their local area and practice the routes they would generally take.
Active travel can introduce your pupils to moderate levels of exercise. The regularity of which can prompt good habits well into adulthood and promote calmer more attentive pupils in lessons. We at First Step Cycle, are committed to bringing safe active travel that can become not only a resolution to be more active but to reduce your schools’ carbon footprint.