Increasing active travel to school at Ysgol Bethel in Gwynedd

Group of school children at Ysgol Bethel in Gwynedd

48.1% of pupils at Ysgol Bethel now travel to school by bike, scooter or on foot.

The school joined Sustrans’ Active Journeys Programme in 2016.  A Sustrans Schools Officer worked closely with the school during their first year and they have been progressing independently this year.   Scooting and cycling skills sessions, Dr Bike services, Walk to School Weeks and classroom sessions have all played their part in encouraging children to travel actively. 

Ysgol Bethel has now received the Bronze School Mark Award demonstrating a significant reduction in pupils being driven to school, and are hopeful that survey results in the autumn will see them gain their Silver Award.

Pupils have also used their bikes and scooters during PE lessons, with Year 6 pupils participating in National Standards cycle skills training provided by Gwynedd Council. Everyone was offered the chance to take part in cycling and scooting sessions on the yard during Sustrans’ Big Pedal.

How active travel initiatives can help

The school have made great use of active travel initiatives this year.

During Walk to school Week in May, over 95% of children walked to school, with the majority walking 4 out of the 5 days. During Sustrans’ Big Pedal 69.20% of the school took part, up from 61.34% in 2017, and the school came 2nd in Wales in the small primary school competition.

During the school’s Health and Fitness Week in June 2018, staff encouraged pupils to bring their bikes into school to be checked.  Pupils used Sustrans’ M-check sheets and worked in pairs and small groups to learn how to check bikes and ensure that they were safe to ride. Also during the week, the school used the Golden Lock to encourage pupils to scooter or cycle to school. The initiative saw the bike racks filled daily and happy children receiving prizes for their efforts.

“One thing that was a big hit was the Golden Lock. Every day we choose a bike and attach the golden lock to it, the child who owns the bike then comes forward at the end of the day and wins a prize. – It’s been so popular and makes children who aren’t already cycling in want to do so!”

Find out more about what schools can do to transform the school run