Active travel to and from school
Active travel - on foot, bicycle or public transport - is supported and promoted by Croydon Council. Working alongside teams involved with education, Croydon Healthy Schools, public health, pollution and highways, the work is funded by Transport for London (TfL) and the council. The way a school or college and adjacent roads and pavements is built, maintained and run makes a difference to how active and how safe pupils and students are when getting to and from their site each day.
The council expects educational establishments to manage that activity by writing and updating a School Travel Plan (STP). An STP is strictly 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
- increase in the school’s reputation as well as opportunity for Croydon Healthy School and Eco School Accreditation.
School travel plans and STARS accreditation
An up to date school travel plan shows that your school or college is taking responsibility for the safety and fitness of the young people in their care. A travel plan identifies the travel issues for your school, requests changes that would make routes to school safer for walking and cycling, and sets out the travel activities during the year to encourage active travel and to better manage car use and parking, and safe use of public transport. In Croydon we encourage schools to create their STP via the STARS accreditation scheme.
You can create or update an existing school travel plan on the Transport for London website. Please note that if you are an existing user and have not used the website since September 2016, you will need to create a new account. Schools new to the scheme should also create an account.
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:
- Road Safety Theatre in Education (e.g. SMART Brothers)
- Bikeability Training
- Walk Once a Week (WoW)
- Installing scooter or cycle storage
- Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs)
- Children’s Traffic Club London
- A-Z Traffic Tales
You can find more activity examples by visiting https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/Explore/Idea
By meeting certain criteria and running a set amount of ‘travel activities’, school can achieve STARS accreditation. Once STARS accredited, you gain eligibility to apply for STARS specific funding from TfL such as ‘cycle grants for schools’ or the ‘Cycle Parking Programme’. More information on the criteria can be found at: https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/About/Accreditation
STARS accredited schools are invited to the prestigious STARS seminars, where schools come to collect their award and celebrate all the hard work that they have been doing to champion active, sustainable travel and road safety.
Please note that most initiatives offered are either free or funded by Transport for London and the council
Mini grants for schools
Each financial year Croydon Council offers schools that have achieved or are working towards STARS accreditation the opportunity to bid for funding to support small school travel related projects and travel activities. Schools that have achieved (or are working towards) Bronze, Silver or Gold STARS accreditation can apply for up to £200, £400 and £600 respectively.
Examples of travel activities include:
- Walkers / Bikers Breakfast - run a breakfast club and provide free breakfasts for those pupils who walk, scoot or cycle to school.
- Cycling / Walking Club - purchase equipment for activities.
- Scooter Storage - request a scooterpod for pupils to store their scooters in during the school day.
- Balance Bikes - some schools have used the funding to purchase a small number of balance bikes to aid in teaching their early years how to cycle.
If you have any funding queries, please contact Lewis Campbell.
Cycle Storage for Schools
Croydon Council offer schools who are working towards STARS accreditation the opportunity to bid for small items of scooter and cycle storage such as toast racks and minipods. Applications can be requested from Lewis Campbell.
Walk to school
Walking is the simplest way to travel short distances like the walk to school. Walking with friends is a social activity which engages children’s minds before they arrive so that their brain is stimulated and ready for school. Walking also has many proven health benefits, one of which is the release of endorphins around the body. This results in the children arriving feeling good which then means they are in a positive mind-set and ready to engage in their education.
The council supports schools wishing to be part of the national Walk on Wednesday (WoW) scheme, which is well loved by children, and provides excellent teaching material for teachers.
Visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/walk-with-us/walk-to-school for more information.
Secondary schools and colleges
Young people travelling more independently to secondary school and college can make use of excellent public transport in Croydon. They can also receive bikeability training in order to encourage them to cycle to school. There’s still loads of activities that secondary schools can get involved in.
Some secondary school activity examples are:
- Safe Drive, Stay Alive
- Youth Travel Ambassadors (YTAs)
- Road Safety Theatre in Education (The Riot Act)
- Bikeability training
- Bikers Breakfast (reward scheme for those who cycle to school)
- Bike maintenance skills
- Bike security marking
- Free your Feet
- Art competitions with a theme of walking, cycling or road safety
You can find more activity examples by visiting https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/Explore/Idea.
Free cycle training
Cycle training can be booked online for schools throughout the year. Most secondary schools in Croydon require students to reach cycle training level 2.1 before granting permission for students to cycle to school. Students can then train for level 3 which is the highest grade attainable. Visit the cycling instructor website to find out more.
1-to-1 adult cycle skills training is available - the first two hour cycle lesson is free! Cycling Instructor also run regular 4 week courses called ‘On Your Bike’ to build your cycling skills and increase your confidence.
Get the whole school and community involved in caring for the local environment. Having a school travel plan that is less than three years old counts for achievement of the transport theme.
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. If you do not know the status of your school travel plan please contact Lewis Campbell.
Special educational needs assistance
Children with special educational needs (SEN) may be eligible for support with their home-to-school travel if they live over the statutory walking distance or if their special educational needs prevent them undertaking a shorter journey. For further details visit our Home-to-school travel webpage.