The Education and Inspections Act 2006 requires Local Authorities to assess the travel and transport needs of children and young people in the area and to undertake an audit of the routes to and from school.
This information is used to develop and promote a strategy on sustainable transport to facilitate safer, healthier and more sustainable journeys to, and between, schools and other educational institutions.
We adopted a School Travel Strategy - Sustainable Journeys to and from School in July 2007. We have a duty under the legislation to review and update this strategy. There are additional elements in the updated strategy, in response to developments at a national and local level.
In summary, the strategy aims to:
- reduce car use by encouraging more sustainable modes of travel, promoting the health benefits of physical activity
- make the routes and journey to and from school safer for all.
- encourage all schools to prepare or review their unique travel plan.
We are able to offer assistance and encouragement to schools using the School Action Plan.
We use School Census data to monitor the progress of sustainable school travel.
Short term success
A decrease in the number of car trips from within walking and cycling distance of their chosen school.
The current percentage of children living within the accepted walking thresholds who are driven to school is shown below by school phase:
- Primary (Reception to Year 6): 21.88%
- Secondary (Year 7 to 11): 17.58%
Medium term success
An Increase in the distance children walk to school (85 percentile)
The current distance children walk to school is:
- Primary: 800 metres
- Secondary: 1600 metres
Long term success
An increase in the number of pupils living within walking and cycling distance of their chosen school who walk and/or cycle.
The current percentage of children who do not attend their nearest school by phase:
- Primary: 51.63%
- Secondary: 61.53%
Overall 57.15% of children in Poole do not attend the school nearest to their home principally due to parental choice. As there are longer distances between home and school, it may not be possible for many children to travel using an alternative to the car.
There are measures to encourage and support alternatives to the car that include:
- mapping and assessing the routes used by children & young people (to include engineering/infrastructure statements)
- improved facilities for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport routes identified in any assessment of routes to school
- assisting schools to set up “walking buses”
- providing and promoting public transport use by children and their families for journeys to and from school, college, or children’s centre and between centres throughout the whole school day, including recommendations for the behaviour of young travellers.
- expanding and supporting independent travel training for students with special needs
- links to related initiatives (e.g. Healthy Schools, Primary Care Trust work on childhood obesity)
- special long- or short-term walking promotions or events; walking buses / park and walk / the passport to health.
- cycle and pedestrian training (including road safety education).
- improvements to and promotion of public transport services.
- work on specific programmes for improvements to education delivery and attainment (14-19, extended schools)
- ensuring that the Building Schools for the Future programme takes note of this strategy for sustainable journeys. Sustainable travel can be recognised by the adoption of the first principles and Design Guidance offered by the Southwest Regional Travel Adviser.
One positive step is the age of transfer is changing under Poole’s education policies, together with the Building Schools for the Future and Primary Change strategies. There are few real problems, in the medium term, as many of the first and middle schools are close together if not on the same site.
You can read the School Travel Strategy - Sustainable Journeys to and from School for further information.