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New path extension puts active travel on the curriculum

Pupils at the new Danderhall cycling and walking route

Pupils try out the new Loanhead railway path extension cycle route

Pupils trying out the new Danderhall cycle route

Pupils try out the new Loanhead railway path extension cycle route

3 April 2018

The need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curriculum-based lessons has been identified as a priority in Scotland, with the Scottish Government outlining a STEM strategy for Scotland over the next few years.

In Danderhall Primary school in Midlothian, our I Bike Officer and engineering team came together to deliver STEM curriculum-based lessons on a new traffic-free cycling and walking route.

The route was identified as a priority due to the prospect of new housing developments being built in the area, with limited active travel routes to local amenities and lack of awareness of key commuter routes to Edinburgh City Centre.

The collaborative approach between our engineering and I Bike team meant the local school children were engaged with the project from the start. They learned how the 3km path extension would transform a disused railway line into a path that links communities living in Lasswade, Danderhall and Shawfair. 

Following the completion of the project, the pupils geared up for another learning opportunity as part of a led-ride along the newly built cycle path.

Led by Sustrans Scotland’s I Bike team, 10 P6 pupils from Danderhall Primary School went on a 4km ride along the new route as part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) curriculum-based lesson on the path. They were joined by Sustrans Scotland Principal Engineer, Paul Cronin who provided learning on some of the engineering and maths required to help build the path and Sustrans Ecologist Lenka Sukenikova who taught pupils about the range of wildlife and biodiversity on the route.

Danderhall Primary school is one of 26 schools in Midlothian receiving support from two dedicated Sustrans I Bike Officers. The project, which is funded by Midlothian Council and Transport Scotland, helps to deliver curriculum-linked cycling activities to pupils to encourage them to be more active.

Sustrans Scotland I Bike Officer for Midlothian, Roslynn Newman said:

“The Loanhead Path Extension is a fantastic new asset to schools and residents in the area.

“The local, traffic-free route is a safe and attractive place to take children out for led-rides and walks as well as vital link to access key local facilities such as the health centre and station.

“Led-rides and outdoor learning sessions are a vital part of a pupils everyday learning. Not only do they encourage children to be more active but it teaches them to engage with their environment in a different and more dynamic way.”  

Find out more about our work in Scotland