STARS shine bright on 56 Bucks schools with national travel plan accreditation

Fifty-six schools in Buckinghamshire are now nationally recognised for their work in getting pupils to school using 'foot power' during the 2019/20 academic year.

They all have accreditation under the Modeshift STARS scheme (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools). This is sponsored by the Department for Transport and encourages children and young people to walk, pedal and scoot to school. The scheme awards gradings on a Gold, Silver and Bronze basis to promote active, safe and sustainable travel by families making their daily journeys to and from school.

Of the 56 schools now recognised, four achieved bronze accreditation for the first time in December 2020, joining 30 others already at bronze level, seven at Silver level and 15 at the prestigious Gold level.

To gain accreditation, each school develops a programme that:

  • Encourages pupils to be more active through cycling and walking,
  • Identifies traffic and transport issues for the school,
  • Reduces the number of cars outside the school to improve air quality and help lower the impact of school traffic on other road users.

Ian Thompson, Buckinghamshire Council's Strategic Director for Planning, Growth and Sustainability praised all the schools involved for their efforts and continuing commitment despite the difficulties over the last year. "These awards really do count for a great deal in helping children to understand the value of walking, cycling or scooting to and from school.

"With STARS being a national accreditation scheme, it properly recognises schools that have robust travel plans in place to support all forms of sustainable travel to get to school. This in turn helps improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people, improve road safety and reduce congestion and traffic traditionally associated with the school run."

Ian added: "Considering the Covid pandemic and the additional pressure on schools, these awards represent an amazing achievement by all involved."

Buckinghamshire Council actively encourages and supports schools to participate in the STARS scheme and schools can register with STARS for free. More information can be found on the School travel planning website, including lots of free advice and ideas.