School Travel Policy
We actively encourage our pupils and staff to walk, scoot or cycle to school as it:
- keeps us fit and healthy
- helps our pupils develop road safety skills which will keep them safe as they travel further afield and more independently
- helps keep our local air clean, and our streets free from congestion
- life skills that everyone should be able to benefit from
What we do
- We use Modeshift STARS to update and monitor our school travel plan
- We promote safe and active travel as much as possible by using our noticeboard, displays, newsletter and website at www.stmarysthornbury.com
- We encourage all members of our school community to walk, cycle or travel by public transport for the journey to school. To support this we provide:
- Cycle training (Bikeability)
- Scooter training
- Pedestrian training
- Cycle parking
- Scooter parking
- Local school trips are made by public transport where possible, or on foot if the destination is close by. For example, we walk to swimming lessons at the leisure centre in Thornbury.
- We let all new pupils and their parents/carers know that we promote healthy and sustainable travel to school before the child starts at our school
What we ask of parents
- Please encourage your child(ren) to walk, scoot or cycle to school whenever possible
- Ensure your child(ren) walk or ride sensibly and safely on the way to and from school, and to push bikes and scooters on school grounds
- Ensure that bicycles and scooters are roadworthy and properly maintained. If in doubt consult a qualified mechanic
- Provide your child(ren) with a cycle helmet
- Ensure your child(ren) can be seen by fitting lights to their bike by supplying them with high-visibility clothing
- Make sure your child(ren) has a lock for their bike or scooter and that they know how to use it
- Ensure you have appropriate insurance cover for your child(ren)’s bicycle or scooter as the school is not liable for any loss or damage to cycles or scooters on the premises or being used on the way to or from school
- If you travel by bus, can you get off the bus at least two stops early and walk the last part of the journey?
We understand that sometimes there is no alternative to driving to school.
- Where a car must be used we ask parents to drive only part of the way, and drop their child(ren) off away from the school so that some of the journey can be walked or scooted
- We have a 5 / 10 minute walk zone we ask parents to park outside of - see below
- If you do have to drive your child(ren) and stop in the near vicinity please do so legally, safely and with respect for our neighbours and local residents
- It is not acceptable to park or wait on double yellow lines, on the school zigzags or across residential driveways for any period of time.
Please note that the decision on whether a child is competent to cycle or scoot to school is for the parent(s) or carer(s) to make. The school has no liability for any consequences arising from this decision.
What we ask of pupils
- Ask your parents if you can walk, scoot or cycle to school
- Behave in a way that shows you and the school in the best light whether walking, scooting, cycling or using public transport
- Ride or walk courteously, sensibly and safely on the way to and from school
- Push bikes and scooters on school grounds
- Check that your bike or scooter is roadworthy and properly maintained
- Wear a cycle helmet
- Make sure you can be seen by using lights in the dark or bad weather and by wearing high-visibility clothing
- Make sure you have a lock for your bike or scooter and that you use it
Active Travel Map
Did you know?
One in four cars on the road are on the school run and greenhouse gas emissions from road transport made up around a fifth of the UK’s total GHG emissions. Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
Air pollution causes 64,000 deaths annually in the UK, and a reduction of 1.5 years in average life expectancy. Air pollution affects the rates not just of respiratory diseases but also cardiovascular diseases like heart failure.
More than a third of children are overweight (including obese) by the time they leave primary school. Child obesity strongly indicates to adult obesity – which in turn can lead to poor health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and premature death.
In 2020, 50% of children aged 5 to 16 walked or cycled to school (when able to), an increase from 44% in 2019 and the largest proportion of children walking or cycling to school since 2009. This included 47% of all children who usually walked to school and 3% who usually cycled.
There were increases in walking as the usual means of travel to school amongst primary school (aged 5 to 10) children (47% in 2019 to 52% in 2020) School closures and the reduction in public transport and private car use are all likely to have contributed towards this.
Only 3% of all children usually cycled to school. This proportion has remained between 2% and 4% since 2002. Over the same period, primary school children walking to school decreased from 3% to 1%.
The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy includes a target to increase the percentage of children that usually walk to school from 49% in 2015 to 55% in 2025.
Why active travel is important
1. Cleaner air – reducing cars helps reduce air pollution around the school gates.
2. Helps tackle climate change – by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars.
3. Students are healthier and fitter – young people should have at least an hour of physical activity every day – walking or cycling to school contributes to this time.
4. Helps students unwind at the end of the day – walking or cycling home gives them time to think.
5. Improves concentration – studies have shown that students who are active are ready to learn and do better in their studies.
6. Gives students more independence – walking or cycling without parents helps them develop skills for independent living when they are adults.
7. Reduces congestion – as there are less cars on the road, making it more pleasant environment for everyone.
8. Quicker than sitting in traffic
9. Improves road safety at the school gates – because there is reduced traffic and parked cars.
10. It’s cheaper to walk or cycle – as it saves on fuel.
It can be a challenge for people to make the change and South Gloucestershire Council have some schemes that will help you to get started. Enjoy this short video about the benefits of a more active journey to school.
I can’t Actively Travel to school because……
I live too far away – You might be surprised to learn that it only takes approx. 15 to 20 mins to walk a mile. If you live several miles away you don’t have to walk the whole way, Park & Stride by getting dropped off 5-10 mins away from school and walking the rest, or Park & Pedal and cycle the rest of the way. Getting off a couple of stops early if you travel by public bus and walking the rest will also help you Actively Travel.
Bad weather - Don't let the weather put you off – it might seem obvious but keep an umbrella or a waterproof in your bag just in case, and a scarf and hat are a good idea when it is cold.
I am worried about my safety - If you're worried about walking alone then maybe arrange to meet a friend or walk in a group. If bullying on the school journey is an issue don't suffer in silence. Tell a member of staff at school. Everyone should feel safe to walk to school.
Too much to carry - Think about where you could possibly swap heavier folders for a USB or leave your PE kit in school. A decent backpack is great for carrying your things when walking or riding a bike, or you could even get yourself some panniers, or bike bags, to carry your school bag(s) on your bike.
Busy roads - might put you off, but there are lots of different roads, routes and footpaths you could use to get to school. Openstreetmap or Google maps can help you plan a safer route and pick out some quieter roads and traffic-free cycle paths instead of the main roads.
I don’t know if my bike is safe to ride - Like any machine, a bicycle will work better and last longer if you care for it properly. Get in the habit of checking your bike regularly – simple checks and maintenance can help you enjoy a smooth ride to school and avoid repairs. The M check is a simple way to make sure your bike is safe to ride. Check out this 3 minute video explaining the Sustrans M Check. (tinyurl.com/sustransmcheck).
Lack of confidence riding a bike - If you feel that you are not as confident a cyclist as you'd like to be, then check out Bikeability – a cycle training programme replacing cycling proficiency. Bikeability gives everyone the skills and confidence for all kinds of cycling.
Top 10 Tips to get you going on 2 wheels
1. Plan and practice your route, using cycle paths where they are available. This map should help you with this!
2. Check your bike is safe to ride before using it (do the M Check!)
3. Be safe and be seen by wearing visible clothing. School uniform is often very dark – try choosing a brighter bag.
4. Get yourself some bike lights – a white one for the front and red for the back - so you can see, and be seen, when it is dark.
5. Wear gloves and a lightweight raincoat during the winter to keep yourself warm.
6. Mudguards are a brilliant bike addition and will help keep you dry.
7. Make sure your helmet is properly fitted – it should feel snug, but not tight.
8. Lock your bike securely when you’re not using it.
9. Consider buddying up with a friend, for some, or all of your journey.
10. Remember your Bikeability training. If you need training, ask your school for more information and check out bikeability.org.uk for more top tips.
Travelwest – Journey planning and advice on travelling around the South West.
Walk to School | Living Streets – Parent toolkits, activity resources and advice on walking more every day.
Sustrans – The Charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. The work we're doing creates healthier places and happier people.
Bikeability is today’s cycle training programme replacing cycling proficiency. Bikeability gives everyone the skills and confidence for all kinds of cycling.
FREE 1:1 Adult Cycle training for all staff and parents - to book an individual lesson call 01454 863 526, or email: email@example.com
The Better By Bike website has loads of great cycling resources, covering where to buy a bike (new or second hand, from local bike shops), as well as a bike journey planner, and much more. (betterbybike.info).
How to correctly fit a bike helmet: - https://www.sustrans.org.uk/media/7781/btsw-resources_helmetcheck_eng.pdf
Cycle route planning
There are lots of great resources for planning your cycling journeys whether that’s advice on quiet roads for your school commute, or leisure rides that will be a fun weekend family activity. Here is a selection of some:
Better by Bike Route Planner - Enter your start and end point and the map will suggest 3 cycle routes for fastest, quietest, and ‘balanced’ journey. (cycleplanner.betterbybike.info/route-planning )
'Komoot' Route Planner & Tracker - You can use Komoot on your computer or download it as a phone app. You can record your journeys on Komoot to learn from favourite rides and log all your amazing pedal miles! (https://www.komoot.com/plan)
These downloadable maps detail on-road and traffic-free cycleways across South Gloucestershire. They’re good for getting a general sense of the cycle options in your neighbourhood without planning a specific route. (https://betterbybike.info/maps-and-guides/regional-cycle-maps/#south-gloucestershire)
Leisure Rides in South Gloucestershire. (https://betterbybike.info/maps-and-guides/guides-booklets/)