Schools win national accolades

  |  Published: Oct 22nd 2015
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Two Buckinghamshire schools are this week celebrating national acclaim for encouraging more walking and cycling to school and promoting road safety.

Downley School, High Wycombe, and Stoke Mandeville Combined School were presented with the Modeshift STARS Award at a reception in London.

STARS is a national scheme run by the not-for-profit membership organisation, Modeshift, and supported by Buckinghamshire County Council, to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in forms of sustainable travel.

So far Modeshift has accredited 72 Buckinghamshire schools and next month 16 more will receive their accreditation.

The Downley School won the award for promoting walking, and Stoke Mandeville school collected the award for promoting road safety.

At Downley the number of pupils walking to school rose by five per cent in a year - from 49% in 2013 to 54% in 2014 - and has continued to rise this year.

Teaching Assistant Nicole Matei organised several events throughout the year to encourage walking and worked with a parent volunteer team and pupils to create walk-to-school passports, which were stamped when they walked to school.

Downley's Acting Head, Helen Hadaway, said: 'I am extremely proud that the Safer Routes to School Group's hard work has been acknowledged and rewarded. I greatly appreciate and thoroughly support their efforts to make the roads safer as keeping our children safe is The Downley School 's no 1 priority.'

At Stoke Mandeville School Travel Plan co-ordinator Emma James ran a whole school road safety campaign, with the help of companies DHL and Gist Ltd, to raise children's awareness of the dangers posed by lorries and other large vehicles.

She arranged training for pupils with heavy goods vehicles, and recruited parent volunteers as pedestrian skills tutors to carry on her safety programme.

Stoke Mandeville Head Eileen Stewart said: 'The very important message about road safety has never been more relevant for our children than currently. We are all incredibly proud of the hard work our whole school community have undertaken to achieve this National Accolade for Road Safety.'

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Transport, said: 'These are brilliant achievements and I congratulate school staff, parents and pupils. Doing their bit for sustainable travel and road safety awareness has the extra benefit of bringing the whole school community together.'

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