Potton Primary School recognises the many positive benefits for pupils cycling or scooting to and from school. We therefore look to encourage this form of travel behaviour, in as many ways as possible. We encourage pupils and parents to travel to school by cycling, scooting and walking (active travel) wherever possible.
Some of the benefits of active travel are:
- improving both mental and physical health through physical activity
- establishing positive active travel behaviour
- promoting independence and improving safety awareness
- reducing congestion, noise and pollution in the community
- reducing the environmental impact of the journey to school.
To encourage pupils to cycle or scoot to school frequently the school will:
- actively promote cycling and scooting as a positive way of travelling
- celebrate the achievements of those who cycle and scoot to school
- provide cycle and scooter storage on the school site
- provide high-quality cycle training to all pupils who wish to participate.
To make cycling and scooting to and from school a positive experience for everybody concerned, we expect our pupils to:
- ride sensibly and safely and to follow the Highway Code
- check that their bicycle or scooter is roadworthy and regularly maintained
- behave in a manner which shows them and the school in the best possible light and to consider the needs of others when cycling or scooting
- consider wearing a cycle helmet
- ensure they can be seen by other road users, by using lights and wearing high-visibility clothing, as appropriate.
For the wellbeing of our pupils, we expect parents and carers to:
- encourage their child to walk, cycle or scoot to school whenever possible
- encourage their child to take up opportunities to develop their competence and confidence in cycling or scooting
- consider cycling or scooting with their child on the school run, possibly joining with other families as a ‘cycle train’
- provide their child with equipment such as high-visibility clothing, lights, a lock and cycle helmet as appropriate
- ensure that the bicycles and scooters ridden to school are roadworthy and regularly maintained.
Please find below some links to some useful websites which might help both for travelling to school or during leisure time:
- public transport journey planner www.traveline.info
- Live bus departure information utilising the http://nextbuses.mobi/
- National cycle routes (www.sustrans.org.uk)
- Cycle route planner (www.cyclestreets.net)
- Car share database that staff can use for free (www.liftshare.com);
- Links to Central Bedfordshire’s Travel Choices website (www.cbtravelchoices.co.uk)
Walking to and from School
There are no laws around age or distance of walking to school. A families' guide to the law states: “There is no law prohibiting children from being out on their own at any age. It is a matter of judgement for parents to decide when children can play out on their own, walk to the shops or school." Parents are legally obliged to ensure their children get to school and attend regularly, but this in itself does not disallow independent travel. However, as a school we are responsible for the welfare of our pupils and therefore have to consider what we believe is good practice in ensuring the safety of our pupils. We also have an obligation to alert relevant authorities should we believe a child’s welfare is at risk.
Pupils in Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)
Our agreed school policy is that no pupil in Foundation Stage or Key Stage 1 should walk to or from school on their own or be left on their own on the school premises either before or after school. In addition, we will only hand over pupils to named adults or older siblings provided they are 14 years old or above. Pupils will not be handed over to other adults unless the school has been informed by the parent that they have made this arrangement. We also ask that you keep us informed of any changes in arrangements, preferably by letter. If no one turns up to collect a child in these year groups they will be kept in school and parents contacted. We will not allow older brothers or sisters in school to collect younger siblings.
Pupils in Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 & 6)
There is no set age when children are ready to walk to school or home on their own. It very much depends upon their maturity and confidence. Therefore, as regards pupils in Key Stage 2 we believe that you as parents need to decide whether your child is ready for this responsibility. We would still highly recommend that pupils in Year 3 and 4 at least are still brought to and collected from school. In deciding whether your child is ready to walk to school you should assess any risks associated with the route and your child’s confidence. Work with your children to build up their independence while walking to school through route finding, road safety skills and general awareness. There are lots of ways you can prepare your child to make an independent journey. Children who are driven to school do not have the opportunity to develop road awareness and are therefore more vulnerable when they start to walk to school independently. Walking to school is a great opportunity to learn road safety skills. The best way to do this is to walk with your children from a young age, teaching them about crossing the road, learning how to navigate and a host of other skills. This helps them gain the experience and confidence to deal with traffic and way-finding, on their own, in preparation for walking with friends or alone when they are older.
Teach your child to:
- Pay attention to traffic at all times when crossing the street; never become distracted.
- Cross in a place where you can see clearly in all directions. Avoid parked cars or bends in the road.
- Look both ways before crossing; listen for traffic coming; cross while keeping an eye on traffic.
- Look out for cyclists.
- Remember that drivers may not see them, even if they can see the driver.
- Remember that it is hard to judge the speed of a car so be cautious.
When deciding whether your child is ready for this responsibility you might want to consider the following:
1. Do you trust them to walk straight home?
2. Do you trust them to behave sensibly when with a friend?
3. Are they road safety aware?
4. Would they know what to do if a stranger approaches them?
5. Would they have the confidence to refuse to do what a stranger asked?
6. Would they know the best action to take if a stranger tried to make them do something they didn’t want to do (scream, shout, kick, fight)?
7. Would they know what to do if they needed help?
8. Would they know who best to approach to get help? If you are not confident about how your child would react then you should seriously consider whether you should allow them to walk on their own.
If you decide that your child is ready for this responsibility, then you must inform the school by letter or by completing the slip below. Your child will be prevented from walking home unless this permission has been given in writing.
Your child will also be responsible for their behaviour whilst on the school premises either before or after school. Should their behaviour not be acceptable you will be asked them to accompany or collect them until they have proved they can be trusted again. IF AT ANY TIME YOU NEED TO CHANGE ARRANGEMENTS YOU HAVE MADE PLEASE ENSURE YOU LET US KNOW IN WRITING IMMEDIATELY.