Results of a recent Active Travel Audit have shown that 19 schools have either equalled or increased their active travel levels since the last survey.
Almost half of primary school pupils reported travelling actively to and from school. Secondary school students recorded the highest level of activity since the survey began in June 2020, with 37% participating in active travel.
The Health Improvement Commission’s Be Active team measured responses from over 1,800 pupils from 19 schools.
The team is working to create positive community initiatives and advocate for the development of environments which encourage and enable everyday physical activity.
Pictured L-R: Active Travel Officer, Alex Costen, Education Lead, Alun Williams and Adult Physical Activity Officer, Megan Seward.
Active Travel Officer, Alex Costen, said she was pleased with the results.
“Active Travel became much more popular in the lockdowns, and it’s reassuring to see that this popularity is continuing to grow, in how the island’s children travel to and from school,” she said.
“We’d like to say a huge ‘well done’ to the schools for encouraging active travel, and to the families who are making this happen.
"It is fantastic to see that some schools who have worked really hard at advocating active travel have shown a significant increase in the numbers of pupils travelling actively.
“For example two primary schools increased levels of active travel by about a third. Our next steps are look at how they’ve achieved this and to share ideas and best practice to help support other schools to implement change.”
Pictured: One of the Be Active team's initiatives was the introduction of the Daily Mile for all school children, including early years settings.
President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez, added: “Speaking in both a political and personal capacity as a parent of primary and secondary school students, I’m really pleased to see that the Be Active audit has confirmed the strikingly positive change that I’ve seen on the ground in schools across the island.
“My own ‘school run’ is a radically different experience compared to a few years ago: there are far more families walking, wheeling and riding into school now, and far less traffic in the vicinity, which makes it a much safer and more pleasant experience.
“That’s given even more families the confidence to travel actively to school, which is great news from a health and environmental perspective. Studies have shown it also gives children a head start educationally as well, as it improves their concentration in the classroom.”
Pictured: Deputy Lindsay De Sausmarez is an advocate for active travel.
A school which has seen an increase in its active travel numbers is Haute Capelles Primary. The school introduced a range of measures to encourage this, including a ‘head start’ on the way home for cyclists as well as a small rack for parents/carers to leave bikes.
Head Teacher, Sue Coughlin, commented: “I am delighted that our recent initiative has affected such a positive change in the number of children using active travel to go home from school.
“Enabling our cyclists and pedestrians to have a 10 minute head start on exiting the site has bought many benefits to the school community. Our numbers of cyclists has doubled, we now have very young children cycling and an increased number of parents who cycle with their children and continue to work on their bikes."
Pictured: The Hautes Capelles initiative makes it safer and quicker for children to cycle to and from school.
Ms Coughlin continued: “Increased numbers of families now walk some or all of the journey and report that with reduced traffic they feel safer on the narrow pavements and our cyclists are reporting that they are now cycling to and from school as they feel much safer on the roads. So a double win in terms of increasing physical activity and less pollution into the atmosphere.”
Hautes Capelles pupil, Jane, 11, added: “It’s much easier to cycle now and healthier for me too rather than being in a car.”
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