In March 2022 Modeshift, in partnership with The Bikeability Trust, was awarded funding by the Active Travel England to deliver a pilot Active Travel Ambassadors programme across England as a means to increase walking and cycling levels and encourage more secondary schools to produce a Modeshift STARS accredited Travel Plan. We are delighted the funding has been extended for another year!
The scheme involves training, resourcing, and supporting students to deliver actions in the school, to their peers and teachers. This approach is welcomed by teachers, it contributes to student leadership skills and academic results. Over the course of a school year, with the support from designated staff, Active Travel Ambassador (ATA) teams research and develop behaviour change campaigns focussing on active travel, road safety improving passenger experience.
A package of measures was prepared to offer pupils the skills, information and motivation to walk and/or cycle to school and for future.
Using the Active Travel Ambassadors youth engagement model, Modeshift recruited five fabulous ATA Coordinators who have been working with selected secondary schools to recruit between 6 and 12 Active Travel Ambassadors (ATAs) to deliver behaviour change campaigns to their peers, over the course of an academic year. Campaign initiatives can include themed assemblies, walking and cycling competitions and community events.
Here are some of the team’s success stories from the past few months we are thrilled to share with you from each of the ATA team:
Stephanie Lake Active Travel Ambassador – South West
The ATA programme has hit the ground running in the South West – as well as delivering sessions and recruiting additional schools, I have been visiting our Accredited Schools across the region!
In July, six Secondary Schools achieved an Accredited Travel Plan to various levels. As a consequence of this, participating in the ATA programme and their engagement with broader active travel issues, two have won Regional Awards which were held on 7 November 2023.
Accredited Schools receive a certificate, and for South Gloucestershire Schools, a HUGE railing banner…
Warmely Park School achieved a Good Travel Plan (Bronze) and were awarded STARS Regional SEND School of the Year 2023/24 – South West
The Castle School achieved an Excellent Travel Plan (Gold) and were awarded STARS Regional Secondary School of the Year 2023/24 – South West
In Bristol, Clifton High School delivered a mini-version of their Summer 2022 ATA Campaign across a fortnight in November. In the hope of keeping active travel on the agenda, even in the colder months, and of seeing modal shift – I will update you next time, but for now, wish them luck!
If you are interested in getting involved, do get in touch, as there are still spaces available!
Jason McAleese Active Travel Ambassador – North Yorkshire, East Riding and York
The year is in full swing and the diary is filling up fast. Starting with sixteen schools from last year my first task was working on retention and have maintained twelve schools from last year signed up with four new schools on board across North Yorkshire, York, and the East Riding.
So, what else have I been up to, well I visited Howden School in the East Riding for their Year 6 open evening and was delighted to discover that “good for your mental health” came out as the top answer when asked “Why do you cycle?”
I’ve also been back to the wonderful Applefields School in York who plan to develop last year’s accessible travel campaign by including individual journey planning skills for a longer train journey and stretching the park & stride out to a full term!!
Finally, I presented Jan from Norton College their first ever STARS accreditation. They ran the ATA outline programme to year 9s in personal development classes seeing 16 very different campaign ideas. This year we are delivering the programme on alternative curriculum day to the entire year 9 in one day!
Alice Dale Active Travel Ambassador – Midlands
Birmingham and Solihull have taken the second year of ATA in their stride. Many session have already been delivered this term and more are being booked. Nine of the sixteen schools which have signed up took part last year, as they are keen to provide the opportunity for more of their pupils.
An upcoming highlight will be handing out certificates for the eight schools who achieved Modeshift STARS accreditation last July. In particular, Ninestiles an Academy which achieved Good accreditation for the first time.
Keith Woodward Active Travel Ambassador – East of England
It is great to see the ATA Programme is well underway in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, building on the success of last year. All schools that took part in the programme received an ‘Approved’ Travel Plan accreditation. We are hopeful that all nine schools so far signed up will also qualify, helping the East of England become more active and environmentally friendly.
We had some great news that certain eligible secondary schools that sign up in Norfolk can potentially be awarded up to £5,000 to be spent on active travel initiatives. This has been made possible by strong links to Norfolk County Council, and their AtoBetter project, that helps promote public transport and active travel in local communities. Thank you to all Local Authorities for their continued support.
Chris Pryor Active Travel Ambassador – South and West Yorkshire
I was recently invited down to a coffee morning at Astrea Academy to talk about the ATA programme. Accompanied by Emily Sykes we had a lovely morning and were able to collect the names of 10 potential new ambassadors. There was a huge amount of interest in the programme and what it has to offer for the schools and pupils taking part. Last years ambassadors were also in attendance asking the parents about their travel choices and what would encourage them to travel actively. All in all a very successful and thoroughly enjoyable morning.
This year the ATA programme has found a partner in the SAMHE project. SAMHE (pronounced ‘Sammy’!) is a project offering schools indoor air quality monitors and activities to help schools understand the impact of poor air quality. Poor air quality had a detrimental effect on pupils’ health and concentration, affecting attendance and attainment. By working alongside SAMHE the ATA team can offer schools the opportunity to get involved, provide invaluable data and to potentially make air quality part of the campaign focus.