Kettering Big Pedal pupils go for gold as they bike, scoot, walk and skate to school
Grange Primary Academy pupils are taking part in a national initiative to get children more active
Pupils at a Kettering primary school have been taking to their bikes, trikes, scooters and skates to take part in a national ten-day push to encourage sustainable travel.
Grange Primary Academy students have signed up to The Big Pedal as part of their commitment to active travel to and from school and to improve health and gain a gold award.
With support from Kettering-based Brightkidz - a social enterprise promoting safe, active, sustainable everyday travel for children - Grange Academy pupils have gained two nationally accredited Modeshift STARS awards.
Having gained bronze and silver, headteacher Chris Latimer, staff, parents and children and are now working towards the next level of recognition.
He said: "Taking part in the scheme has massively made a difference. We had an eleven per cent change in car journeys after the bronze award.
"Before, it was dangerous, thankfully we didn't have any injuries but there were near misses. It's safer and the active lifestyle has also improved the air quality around the school."
The school's ongoing commitment in promoting active travel to school started more than three years ago.
He said: "We have been working with Bright Kidz during this time to encourage healthier ways for our children to travel to school.
"This is the third year that we have taken part in The Big Pedal. We count the number of pupils who bike, scoot, skate, park and stride and this year do exercise.
"The total number of journeys is then added up and goes to a total for the school.
"We have also held special days in school to teach the children to scoot and skateboard safely and held special events such as the walk to school with Father Christmas and Wicky Bear and a walk to school with your teddy bear day to highlight and promote active travel which was very effective and successful. Out parents have been really supportive."
The school has further encouraged children to bike and scoot by holding walk and wheel Wednesdays and walking bubble signs have been installed on pavements to show five-minute walk times from the school.
He said: "This year we are using our sports premium funding to purchase more scooters, bikes and safety equipment for the reception children to use in school. We are also having a roadway marked out on the playground at the end of the month to help the children understand road safety."
Grange Academy was the first school in Northamptonshire to achieve firstly the bronze and then recently the silver national Modeshift STARS award.
Taking part in the Big Pedal will count towards their gold award joining more than 2,000 other schools - almost a quarter of a million children.
Alison Holland, Brightkidz founder, said: "Grange has really embedded active travel into the culture of the school.
"It's fantastic, they are an absolute delight to work with and real role models and we at Brightkidz are really enjoying supporting them. We can't wait for them to get gold."
Ten-year-old Brodie Nichol cycles to school everyday, he said: "It takes me about five to ten minutes, the best bit is that it helps me get fitter and it gives me freedom."
Year 6 pupil Hanna Bathori, 11, said: "I want to come by bike but my mum owns a car but my little brother is learning to ride his bike. I like going really fast."