Covingham Park Primary's safer, smarter school journeys
24 July 2012
Download the Case Study
We knew we had school journey travel congestion problems. We were working with our local Swindon Schools Travel Advisor, Mrs Jane Deeley, to update our Travel Plan.
We had just joined the national School Travel Ambassadors Scheme, STAs, (Oct 2011). We saw this initiative as giving us something worthwhile to start with, in hoping to in some way address our congestion issues. And help towards renewing our Healthy School and Eco-Schools Green Flag awards.
Delivering the project and linking it to the curriculum
We first plotted our five minute walk zone; our data was then mapped by our local borough council travel department. On receiving our leaflets we had an informative STA (school travel ambassadors) whole school assembly. Followed by a wider community launch event, to which the press were invited. This was published in our local ‘Handy Mag’ newspaper and announced on our local Swindon radio.
Getting the pupils involved
Our Travel Team (six of our Eco-Schools Council) arranged for our STAs (our whole council of fourteen, plus two other ‘scooter’ boys) to simultaneously go out in three groups with an adult to plot our school’s 5 minute walk zone using maps and stop watches.
At a later Eco-Schools Council Meeting we democratically wrote our slogan, ‘Park and walk, take time to talk’ which was added to our leaflet.
We approached our regular school disco DJ (a STA’s father & Premises Committee Governor) to compile a suggested ‘walking’ music soundtrack. We went on to plan a whole school assembly and ‘funky footwear and snazzy socks’ fun walking/dancing session launch event.
The STAs wore their Hi-Viz jackets when out plotting, at the whole school assembly and during the launch event which took place in our KS2 playgrounds (too wet for our field as initially planned!) They also spoke with our site manager to get our 5MWZ (five minute walk zone) banners secured prominently at two main entrances.
No, though we did also acquire £700 via our successful Travel Bid with Premises Governors help in October. This secured us a new car park barrier and updated our CCTV system.
The 5MWZ is funded nationally through School Travel ‘Safer, Smarter Journeys’ campaign. Other helpers (e.g. DJ with his sound equipment and amplifiers) volunteered so no costs were involved.
Yes, Jane Deeley, our DJ, our PCSO (Police Community Support Officer), staff and parents, local residents and local press all supported us by attending our launch event wearing ‘funky footwear and snazzy socks’ despite the rain!
Ongoing issues with unthinking car users who park illegally and sometimes dangerously immediately outside our school gates. STAs, staff, Jane Deeley, Governors and our local PCSO have been monitoring the problem and have spoken with offenders and local residents.
We have also started Autumn, Spring and Summer Eco-breakfasts in the hope of regularly reminding and supporting our overall message of ‘Safer, Smarter Journeys’. We are currently canvassing support for a suggested ‘Walking Bus’ to further encourage necessary car users to park further away from our gates. Watch this space!!
Benefits of being an Eco-School
Greater knowledge and awareness of travel issues. More necessary car users now park outside our 5MWZ –encouraged by their children! STAs have gained confidence to speak in whole school assemblies, to the press, residents, parents and other adults about our projects and the issues involved.
They take a more active interest in survey data and are confident in suggesting actions they think may help further our cause. We are currently collating the results of our online travel survey from staff, pupils and parents to see if there are any further initiatives we can try.
Fitter, healthier children and less congested entrances. Only hands up data to monitor the progress as yet and still fairly weather dependant!
Measuring the impact
Ongoing -online and paper copy- surveys being collated by Jane Deeley’s Swindon borough council travel team for us to analyse soon.
Using the Pod’s resources
Not yet – rather a lot of our own so far (new Eco co-ordinator finding her feet!) but we have been members for over 3 years so pupils can access at home.
Educational resources used
National annual potato growing competition
National RSPB annual bird count, plus annual onsite bird box monitoring & updates
National annual Walk to School /travel weeks/month
Local school garden competition
Wiltshire Wildlife Detectives resources e.g. tree/plant identification worksheets etc
Local Swindon Eco-Schools’ Annual Conference
Local Swindon Schools’ Travel Ambassadors’ Annual Conference
Annual whole school National & International charity themed assemblies: Fairtrade, World Oceans Day, Children in Need, Sports Relief, Red Nose Day, Jeans for Genes Day, Christmas & Aqua Boxes, Children of Chenobyl and Topical Disaster Appeals
Annual whole school local charity themed assemblies: Swindon Food Bank Collections, Guide dogs for the Blind and Prospect(Hospice)
Start small and with local issues affecting your school e.g. waste/litter/recycling and get Premises Governors involved.
Keep teams small enough to be manageable when discussing and deciding on actions.
Join local Eco cluster group - ask for help/information/event updates etc. Surround yourself with as many ‘experts’ as possible – seek local helpers e.g. gardeners, ‘doers’, cooks, builders, makers etc. Contact local Travel Advisor, PSCOs, press and councillors.
We are seeking further ways to improve congestion issues including a Walking Bus and joining the National Bike-it scheme.
Local Authority support
Yes, the extremely supportive, Swindon Schools Travel Advisor, Mrs Jane Deeley and her travel team.