Barnabas Oley C of E Primary pupils are Walking and Cycling Super-STARS

A Cambridgeshire primary school is celebrating after winning a national award for its outstanding achievements in sustainable travel to and from school.

Barnabas Oley C of E Primary was named National STARS School Travel Planning Primary School of the Year 2018 at the Modeshift STARS National Awards for its efforts to increase levels of walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable transport for the journey to school.

In November 2017, the school was recognised as the East of England STARS Primary School of the Region giving them the opportunity to represent their region at the Modeshift STARS National Awards Celebration Event.

Nine STARS Schools of the Region came together at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday (April 24) to celebrate their achievements and find out which of them would earn the coveted title of National STARS School of the Year for 2018.

To achieve the award, Barnabas Oley CE Primary School showed a high level of commitment and community working to enable more children to travel sustainably to school, benefiting pupils their families and local residents.

The school is taking part in Cambridgeshire County Council’s Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition) school travel planning programme and has been working with the Road Safety Education Team to gain Modeshift STARS Gold accreditation which they achieved in July 2016.

Part of their research for the STARS travel plan helped them formally identify the need for slower vehicle speeds around the school. After presenting their findings to the Parish Council, they worked in partnership on a successful bid for a 20mph zone around the school which has resulted in safer school travel for children and their families. 

They have also actively increased numbers walking to school year on year from 38.2 per cent in 2014/15 to 55 per cent in 2016/17 while the number of pupils being dropped off in cars has fallen from 44.3 per cent to 9.3 per cent.

Headteacher Rebecca Smith said: “This award fully endorses the work of so many different groups of people who have contributed to making travel to school safer and more sustainable. Motivated by our Junior Travel Ambassadors, the school has worked alongside the Parish Council, Local Police, Local Authority Travel advisors, governors and parent volunteers. We now have embedded schemes for all year groups which include Bikeability, Balancability, Scootsmart and Walksmart. All of these initiatives have helped to encourage increased walking/scooting numbers. Parents have responded positively too, supporting our efforts by parking away from the school and walking in with their children. We are very surprised but also very proud to have received this National Award.”

Cllr Mathew Shuter, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chair of the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, said: “Modeshift STARS presents a huge opportunity for us to increase the number of children and young people that have an active journey to school in Cambridgeshire. I am thrilled that one of our schools has won such a prestigious award for its work in encouraging more sustainable travel to and from school. They are helping us to make a real difference to how people are undertaking the journey to school and I hope their achievement will show others the way to go.”

If any schools are interested in joining the scheme, email [email protected].

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Media enquiries (journalists/media)

Karen Whinney (Governor responsible for Travel Plan), Headteacher Becky Smith and Andrew Selous MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group with Junior Travel Ambassadors Jenna Whinney and Katharine Oxer