Transport for London’s STARS is a fun and inspiring accreditation scheme for School Travel Plans (STP). It aims to improve the school run by encouraging healthier ways of travelling and promoting good road safety behaviour within school communities. STARS stands for Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe.
Schools taking part in the programme seek to reduce their rates of car usage at their school in favour of modes such as walking, cycling and scooting. The scheme also promotes road safety, air quality and social responsibility.
The benefits of a good STP
An STP is required in support of any larger planning application by the school. The benefits of a good STP are:
- an increase in sustainable means of travel (such as walking, scooting, cycling or using public transport) and reduced car travel to school
- healthier, more active pupils and staff
- reduced risk of accident and improved air quality around the school site
- fewer cars and less congestion around the school results in safer walking, scooting and cycling routes
- improvement in school's reputation within the local community
Walking is the simplest way to travel short distances such as the walk to school. Walking with family and/or friends is a social activity which engages children's minds before they arrive so that their brain is stimulated and ready for school. Scooting, rollerblading and cycling are also modes of active travel.
Physical activity releases endorphins around the body, so the children arrive to school feeling good, in a positive mind-set and ready to engage in their education. These benefits are also felt by parents who travel actively with their children, so they are ready to start the working day.
Choosing active travel over car usage means less congestion and reduced air pollution around the school site for a healthier, happier and safer school community. More families travelling actively also means less people using public transport, leaving space on services for those who must use public transport to be able to maintain social distancing.
An up to date STP shows that your school or college is taking responsibility for the safety and fitness of the young people in their care. A good STP will capture travel habits, school activity and identifies the travel issues and barriers for your school.
There are plenty of travel activities which count towards STARS accreditation and it’s more than likely that your school is already engaging in many, such as:
- Walking and/or using Public Transport for school trips
- Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs)
- Brighten Your Bag – Road Safety Competition
- Walk Once a Week (WoW)
- School Staff Step Challenges
- Installing scooter or cycle storage
- Road Safety Theatre in Education
- Communicating active/sustainable travel messages with the school community
You can find more activity examples by visiting TfL Stars website.
In addition, much of the work you do for STARS and your travel plan can support your work towards Healthy Schools Croydon. Healthy Schools Croydon also requires that you are working towards having a valid, STARS accredited school travel plan.
Take part in STARS
Schools wishing to take part in STARS need to do the following:
- delegate a member of staff as ‘school travel co-ordinator’
- get them to register with the STARS website
- e-mail us to let us know they have registered, providing their contact details and consent to be added to our mailing list
- we will approve your account and contact you to arrange a 1:1 meeting where we will establish an action plan to achieve accreditation by the end of the academic year
To help you get started, download our STARS guidance:
- STARS Info Pac (PDF, 1.36 KB)
- STARS User Guide (PDF, 3.5 KB)
- STARS accreditation planning template (coming soon)
Parents who are working from home more regularly could take advantage of what was their commuting time and get the whole family off to a brilliant start to the day by travelling actively to school. This will help reinforce healthier lifestyle choices for children which they may take with them into their adult lives.
STARS activities can be taken from the website to run at home with your child. Feel free to explore the website and cherry pick activities you think would benefit your child as home-learning.
We also have a dedicated Road Safety Education resource hub with fun and inspiring activities to help children learn and retain Road Safety messages.
How can you help your local school?
The first thing you can do is begin travelling to and from school using a mode of transport other than the car. By making positive travel choices, you’re helping to reinforce the message of sustainability within your family and among the school community.
You can explore the STARS website to find out if your child's school is STARS accredited. If they are not, you can contact school leadership and the board of governors, urging them to take part in the scheme for the health and safety benefits to the school community.
STARS community champions
If the school is already engaging with STARS, you could also consider supporting the school as a STARS community champion by engaging in activities such as:
- promoting sustainable modes of travel to friends and family within the school community
- volunteering to support STARS events within the school
- lobbying the school to take part STARS accreditation by running activities such as Brighten Your Bag, WOW Walk to School scheme
- acting as a ‘Cleaner Air Champion’, raising awareness of air quality impacts on children within the local community
- raising your Road Safety Education concerns with senior leadership and school governors