Published: 22nd AUGUST 2023

Active School Travel in Northern Ireland

The Active School Travel Programme is an exciting initiative for schools in Northern Ireland that want to see more of their pupils choosing an active and healthy journey to school.

Our Active School Travel programme

We have been delivering the Active School Travel Programme across Northern Ireland since 2013.

This programme is funded by the Department for Infrastructure and the Public Health Agency.

We've worked with over 500 schools across the country.

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The Active School Travel programme is one of the best initiatives that we have introduced into our school. We have noticed an improvement in not only our children’s fitness levels but also their concentration. We would highly recommend the AST programme to other schools! Blockquote quotation marks
Principal from participating school

Increasing the number of children who regularly walk, cycle or scoot to school has numerous benefits including:

  • increased physical activity levels resulting in improved health and wellbeing
  • reduced congestion and pollution around schools 
  • improved academic performance and attendance rates
  • increased road safety awareness
  • increased confidence, self-esteem, and independence for young people.

This initiative provides schools with a planned programme of activities throughout the year, both in and out of the classroom.

You'll also get direct hands-on support from a dedicated Sustrans Active Travel Officer.

The fundamental aim of the programme is to provide schools with the skills and knowledge to get more children walking, cycling and scooting as their main mode of transport to school.

A man wearing a black Sustrans top smiles at something off camera with children on bikes behind him in a school playground.

Active School Travel Officer, Dave Wiggins, pictured with pupils from Bocombra Primary School in Portadown. Credit: Brian Morrison

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The support we have received through the Active School Travel Programme has been brilliant. We are very keen to adopt active travel for the environment, for health and safety, and for the children’s health and wellbeing. Blockquote quotation marks
Principal from participating school

More children active on the school run 

At the end of the 2022-23 school year, the number of children travelling actively to school at participating schools increased from 30% to 42%.

At the same time, the number of pupils being driven to school fell from 60% to 47%.

After one year in the programme, the number of children completing physical activity for at least 60 minutes each day increased from 29% to 46%.

Take a look at the 2022-23 Summary Report to find out more about how the Active School Travel Programme is successfully working to increase the number of children walking, wheeling and cycling to school in Northern Ireland.


How your school can join the Active School Travel Programme

Recruitment for the 2023-24 school year is now closed.

All being well, we hope to be recruiting schools for the 2024-25 school year next year.

In the meantime, you can email with an expression of interest to ensure you receive notification when recruitment opens again.


School newsletter

Download the latest edition of the Active School Travel Programme newsletter:


Want to get in touch?

Please email us at or call 07824 627 674.

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