72% of pupils in Sustrans Bike It schools in Dorset have voted for active modes of transport as their preferred way to travel
Over the past six years, school communities we’ve worked with in Dorset have seen a rise in the number of students regularly travelling by active means. Now more than 49% of children walk, scoot or cycle to school.
We’ve been working across Dorset to encourage active travel, helping to improve students’ health and wellbeing, whilst raising awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of choosing walking and cycling for everyday journeys, as well as leisure.
Teachers find that pupils who walk and cycle into school arrive more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day. Sustrans has been commissioned by Dorset Council to work closely with the local schools to build a culture of active travel to encourage this positive start to the school day.
Last academic year saw 184 school activities across 28 different schools in the county. There was a wide range of sessions, from ‘bling your bike’ and bike maintenance workshops, to learn to ride sessions, led walks, and even an active travel breakfast. Students, staff and parents are able to build their skills and confidence in a safe environment, ready to give it a go on their journey to school.
Jonathan Dixon, Sustrans Bike It Officer, says “Over the years we’ve been able to help lots of pupils and their parents to change how they travel to school in Dorset, with many choosing to cycle, scoot or walk because of the events we help schools to run. It’s really encouraging that there are even more people who would prefer to be able to get out of their cars. I’m looking forward to working with them to help them to do so.”
Teacher at Prince of Wales First School, Duncan MacBean, says “The children and staff at the Prince of Wales School are very grateful for the longstanding support offered by Sustrans and our Sustrans officer Jonathan Dixon. All of this biking and scooting has had a beneficial impact in many ways- healthy physical activity, enriching the curriculum, and lots of fun! All in all it has been quite a ride! Thank you Sustrans”