More Buckinghamshire schools are taking steps into a sustainable future

Children walking to primary school (iStock)

A total of 63 schools in Buckinghamshire have been awarded Modeshift STARS accreditation in recognition of their work promoting sustainable travel for the academic year 2020/2021.

The STARS scheme recognises schools and other educational establishments that have shown excellence in supporting various forms of sustainable travel, such as walking and cycling to school.

Buckinghamshire Council actively encourages and supports schools to participate in schemes such as STARS to provide safer and greener ways of travel. Creating spaces, such as Modeshift STARS Walking Bubble Maps, motivating children to walk, scoot and bike to school in safer conditions, reducing vehicles and allowing parents to stay socially distanced during drop-off and pick-up. The Walking Bubbles encourage families who are unable to walk or bike to school to park at least five-minutes away from the school, using a form of active transport such as walking or scooting for the rest of the way, making the school zone a safer place for all.

The Modeshift STARS scheme offers five levels of accreditation: Green, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Schools in Buckinghamshire have had amazing success this academic year with increasing numbers of school students travelling to school using a sustainable option.

Three Buckinghamshire schools achieved Platinum Accreditations: Stoke Mandeville Combined School, Haddenham St Marys C of E and High March School. A further nine Gold Accreditations, 11 Silver Accreditations, 32 Bronze Accreditations and eight Green Accreditations were awarded to successful schools across the county.

Due to the pandemic, the schools won’t be able to come together to receive their certificates in person – many however will celebrate the successes inhouse, planning their next steps on the travel journey.

Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:

“I am very proud to see so many Buckinghamshire schools achieve such high accreditations this year. Over 60 schools in Buckinghamshire have active school travel plans in place. With the added pressure on schools for the last few years, this alone is a cause for celebration.

“For our schools that have a Travel Plan, the last year has seen an overall rise in journeys to school using sustainable modes of travel. Cycling, walking, or scooting to school is not only good for the environment, but is great for health and keeping the school zone safe.”

Modeshift STARS offers an online tool that assists the school with a framework that helps to implement sustainable and active school travel choices. After registration, schools involved can input any information they need to produce a nationally recognised School Travel Plan.  The more initiatives schools arrange to promote sustainable travel, the higher accreditation they will be able to achieve.

Schools in Buckinghamshire are supported and encouraged to take part in travel planning via initiatives including Footsteps training, Bikeability training and the Living Streets WOW programme to mention a few. All these schemes can inspire school-aged children to keep fit and support the environment while improving road safety near schools and reducing congestion.

More information can be found on the Buckinghamshire School Travel Planning website.