A primary school in north Belfast has become the first school in Northern Ireland to be awarded our Gold School Mark Award its outstanding commitment to walking and cycling - 76% of pupils now cycle, scoot or walk to school.
Yesterday St Therese of Lisieux Primary School on the Antrim Road received the award from new Health Minister, Simon Hamilton, who congratulated pupils and teachers for increasing the number of pupils who walk, scoot or cycle on the school journey.
More than 76% of its pupils now cycle, scoot or walk to the primary school – a figure that has risen dramatically since the school first started working with Sustrans in 2011.
In Northern Ireland we run the Active School Travel Programme in 180 schools over a three-year period. This is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Department for Regional Development to get more children active on the school journey, to improve their health and cut down on congestion, especially around the school gates.
Minister Hamilton said:
“It is important that we try to encourage both children and adults to increase the amount of physical activity that they do on a daily basis. As well as providing many health benefits, this will also help people to meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity.”
School Principal Patricia Reid said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be the first school in Northern Ireland to win the Sustrans Gold School Mark Award…The children are definitely benefitting from this healthier lifestyle. They arrive to school more alert and ready to learn. They are also learning so much about the importance of keeping safe on the roads. A huge thank you must go to Sustrans for their superb support over the last few years and of course to the real stars, the children. I would encourage all schools to take up the challenge and become an Active School Travel school!”