Spires and Phoenix pupils get active travel

Graduation mortar on top of books
Graduation mortar on top of books

With spring just around the corner, and a stretch in the days, schools across Northern Ireland including two in Magherfelt and Cookstown, are being encouraged to participate in the Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge to cut down on car congestion at school gates and help boost pupil health and wellbeing.

Spires Integrated Primary School and Phoenix Integrated Primary School have joined the two week Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge which promotes walking, cycling, bus and train travel for the school run instead of car use. It incorporates curriculum-linked resources and encourages schools to develop sustainable travel plans as a way to achieve the internationally recognised Eco-Schools Green Flag Award. 43 schools have already come on board for this year’s Challenge.

Translink’s Ursula Henderson said: “The initiative is a fun way to educate young people about environmental, safety, health and cost benefits of ‘active travel’ mode.

“Last year, 36 schools successfully completed the challenge recording more than 13,427 sustainable journeys. There was a shift away from car use; 60% of the journeys made during the Challenge were sustainable compared to 41% beforehand. We want to build on this success and attract even more challenge participants. We’re encouraging schools to visit www.translink.co.uk/ecoschools/ to download a range of engaging Key Stage 1 – 3 travel challenge classroom resources and get started! We also want to highlight the positive health benefits of active travel modes. Independent research shows that people who use sustainable transport for the journey to and from work have a significantly lower BMI and are happier than those who use private transport. As well as helping their school achieve the Green Flag Award, the top performing classes and pupils will receive travel prizes at a special award ceremony during Bus and Train Week in June. Schools are also being encouraged to submit a #Smartmovers project that demonstrates all the innovative ways pupils have tackled the travel challenge.”

For information click www.translink.co.uk/ecoschools/. Deadline for completed Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge entries is Monday, May 22. For information call Eco-Schools on 028 9073 6920.