At Seven Hills Primary School we are working hard to develop our knowledge of sustainable travel. We are also working towards changing the travel behaviors of our Staff and Parents to decrease our negative impact on the environment.
In order for us to monitor this we follow a national accredited scheme called Modeshift Stars which provides a national framework for us to work towards. The schemes objectives are to:
- Increase sustainable and active modes of travel journeys for education.
- Support the provision of skills, training and experiences to enable young people
to travel more actively, safely and independently.
The online programme allows us to track our progress and enables us to draw comparisons with other schools in Leeds to see how our work on travel is impacting on our performance.
Modeshift STARS offers three levels of accreditation: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
We currently have achieved the Silver Level and we will be looking to maintain this over the next year. We will strive to achieve the Gold level in the future.
Our aim this academic year is to try to reduce the amount of our pupils travelling to school via car. We will try to achieve this through walk to school initiatives.
Why are we trying to lower car usage on the school run?
The congestion with cars pulling up to drop off and collect children is a daily problem for schools, not only causing problems for local residents but also contributing to global pollution. Many of the roads around our school are narrow and with cars parked on both sides this can cause road safety issues for vehicle passengers and pedestrians.
Here are some facts about how driving to and from school can have a negative impact on the environment.
*During peak times 1 in 4 cars on the road are taking children to school. The school run is responsible for generating 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
*The average drive to school and back releases 800g of CO2 into the air- enough to inflate over 600 balloons.
*While youngsters only spend 40 per cent of their time on the school run and at school, they receive 60 per cent of their exposure to tiny particles of black carbon during those times. Taking a child to school in a car does not protect them from the pollution, however, as they may be exposed to higher levels of pollutants inside vehicles, because emissions circulate and build up rather than dissipate. This is causing huge air pollution problems particularly around schools.
Whilst we appreciate that it is not always possible for our pupils to walk to school, for various reasons, we will also be promoting the benefits of park and stride (parking a short distance from school and walking the rest of the way). Here are some of the health benefits of adding 10 minutes of walking to your day.
What are the health benefits of walking for at least 10 minutes each day?
Walking lowers blood pressure, regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol.
Walking helps to clear the mind. It helps to improve concentration, focus and attention span.
Walking releases ‘endorphins’ which are “feel-good” chemicals in the brain for a more positive look on life.
Walking on average for 10 mins briskly can burn around 50 calories (Depending on weight).
When we exercise our bodies need more oxygen. In getting more oxygen into our bodies this strengthens our lungs and increases our lung capacity helping us to breathe easier.
When we step outside our senses are activated. Instead of letting the world pass us by we can take the time to be present and notice the environment around us.