With 60% of the maximum achievable points for this measure in the Healthy Streets Scorecard – the highest score of all London Councils – Bromley Council is very engaged in helping the borough’s schools gain STARS accreditation.
STARS (Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe) is a Transport for London (TfL) scheme which champions walking, scooting and cycling to school. TfL says each year STARS schools replace 13 million miles’ worth of car journeys with walking, cycling and scooting. 1
Bromley Council has a range of programmes to support schools. Road Safety Team Leader, Louise French, reports Bromley’s Junior Travel Ambassador scheme has been growing year-on-year, with over half of the borough’s primary schools participating. STARS has had a huge impact in promoting a shift from parents driving their children to school to active travel, she says. For example, Warren Road Primary School has seen car use decrease by 23% from academic year 2005/2006 to 2018/2019.
Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs)
In October, two or three Year 5 or 6 students are chosen by their school to be Junior Travel Ambassadors and are invited to the Council’s Training and Investiture Day. At the ceremony with Bromley’s Mayor, they are given their Official JTA badge and a certificate, learn about their role and are given a resource kit to take back to school. Over 140 pupils and staff attended last October. Participating in the JTA scheme contributes towards STARS accreditation.
Back at school, the JTAs are responsible for promoting walking, cycling and scooting and road safety. They take part in assemblies, conduct surveys (e.g. count the bikes in the bike sheds), give classroom talks, run competitions and help to complete their school’s travel plan.
Then every February, the JTAs are invited back together to present what they have been doing in school since October. Ten schools presented the work they’d been doing at Bromley’s Central Library at the meeting in 2019.
The Council also runs a ‘Top Team’ event to reward the JTAs’ commitment and creativity. This year’s event took place at Biggin Hill Memorial Museum and included a Battle of Britain workshop. The 2019 winning school was Wickham Common Primary School, whose JTAs were rewarded for their work, which included support for the school’s anti-idling campaign, encouraging motorists to turn off their car engines when asked; encouraging pupils and parents to walk to school; working closely with the local community to address any concerns relating to parking and journeys to school; and participating in the ‘Smart Movers’ programme.
This project rewards pupils for completing 10 ‘Smart Moves’ (any active travel journey to and from school) with a badge (emojis are the theme for 2019/20). Every month, the badge changes design, making them real collector’s items!
Twenty-four schools are currently participating in Smart Movers, with approximately half the pupils in each school gaining the reward each month.
Louise French says: “Some of our top-performing schools have fantastic participation levels of around 80-90%. Smart Movers has a tremendous impact on schools who are completing Silver and Gold STARS applications in terms of their modal shift results. The project is incredibly popular with pupils and staff and we have a long waiting list of schools who would like to take part.”
Albert the Alert Emoji
He loves Smart Moving to School as it helps wake him up in the morning. After a nice, brisk walk to School, Albert’s brain is switched on and ready to learn!
A 2012 Danish study found that exercise – even a small amount – has greater rewards for academic performance than even food does!
Reuben the Road Safety Emoji
Reuben likes travelling actively to school as he is able to practise his road safety skills. He knows to stop, look, listen and think before he crosses the road. His friends learn lots from Reuben on their journeys to school.
Evie the Environment Loving Emoji
Evie is our eco-warrior who realises how much she helps the environment by leaving the car at home. “If we all swapped one car journey a week for walking instead, car traffic levels would reduce by at least 10%!”
This playground scooter training activity aimed primarily at Year 2 and Year 3 students improves awareness for riders and pedestrians, says Louise, making scooting to school a viable, active and sustained alternative to using a car.
The Council offers Bikeability cycle training to STARS accredited primary and secondary schools. Children in Year 6 are offered Level 1 and 2 training, while those in Years 7, 8 and 9 are offered Level 1, 2 and 3 training.
Balgowan Primary School, which achieved STARS gold accreditation last autumn and participated in Bromley’s Bikeability and Scootsure schemes, has seen an 8% reduction in car use over the last 3 years, according to the Council.
Bromley schools awarded Gold STARS accreditation in September 2019:
Alexandra Junior School
Balgowan Primary School
Bullers Wood School
Charles Darwin School
Clare House Primary School
Gray’s Farm Academy Primary
Harris Primary Academy Kent House
Harris Primary Academy Shortlands
Hawes Down Primary School
Langley Park School for Girls
Raglan Primary School
The Ravensbourne School
Scotts Park Primary School
St Christophers The Hall School
St James’ Roman Catholic Primary School
St Mark’s Church of England Primary School
St Philomena’s Primary School
Stewart Fleming Primary School