When lots of vehicles arrive at the school at drop-off and pick-up times, this creates lots of air pollution on the streets surrounding the schools, which the children are exposed to.
There are also the safety issues associated with these vehicles, and the inactivity and obesity crises across the country.
In this section we provide guidance on how schools can aim to reduce the number of vehicles at the school gate, improve safety and get more children travelling to school by walking, cycling or scooting (known as ‘active travel’).
Research has shown that air pollution is up to 3 times higher inside a car than outside on the pavement. The car’s ventilation system draws in fumes from the surrounding vehicles which re-circulates and accumulates in the vehicle.
Therefore the more children walk, cycle and scoot to school, the healthier they will be - breathing cleaner air on the way to school, and gettinG exercise. And reducing the number of cars at the school gate will also reduce air pollution for all.
Here we take you through the three steps to cleaner air for this project which are to:
Step 1: Conduct a school travel survey.
Step 2: Create a travel plan and comms materials
Step 3: Monitor, evaluate and measure success.
You can download the full guidance including resources in our Active Travel toolkit.
A School Travel Survey is a short questionnaire of all pupils, parents and teachers that asks them how they get to and from school. There are also other questions that will aid in making changes such as, how far is the journey to school, how would they ideally like to get to school, and what they would like to see for that to happen?
It is a common practice for schools so there may already be a recent one. The Eco-Team or School Council could check when the last one was completed, and undertake one in order to get the baseline information.
Check the downloads section for example travel surveys for children, parents and teachers.
Create a Travel Plan to increase walking, cycling and scooting to school, which in turn will reduce the motor traffic and pollution exposure.
This can be done by the school signing up to an Active Travel scheme. Again many schools may already undertake these schemes but we would encourage schools to do it regularly, to keep getting the message out there. These include -
Department of Transport, Modeshift Stars
TfL STARS (Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe) for London schools and nurseries
There are also many fun ways to encourage walking, cycling and scooting to school, such as -
WoW (Walk on Wednesdays) from Living Streets
Walk to School Weeks / Month, May and October
Bike to School Week, 28 Sept to 2nd Oct 2020 -
Start a Walking Bus
Park and Stride for those who live further away from school
Help and encouragement for parents who want to take up cycling through organisations like Joyriders London.
The school pupils themselves are often the best at encouraging behaviour change, so why not run an active travel poster campaign, either across the whole school, or as an Eco Team project. Resource poster campaign / homework
See our gallery of posters that pupils have created.
These posters could be turned into banners and put up at the school gate to urge families to walk whenever they can for cleaner air and healthier pupils.
Redo the travel survey, to understand how travel to school has changed.
Are pupils changing the way they get to and from school? Has there been an increase in walking, cycling and scooting?
Also, ask do the pupils feel better/are they happier because they get to school under their own steam?
Are there changes that need to be made? Would some pupils benefit from additional help, either regularly or just on certain days?
Celebrate the success that the pupils have made through assemblies, posters and communicating it to the school and local community.