Waverley Junior Academy sprint towards active travel excellence

The new Waverley Junior Academy celebrates a Bronze Modeshift STARS award.
The new Waverley Junior Academy celebrates a Bronze Modeshift STARS award.

Just weeks after opening, the new Waverley Junior Academy celebrates a Bronze Modeshift STARS award with over 84% of pupils choosing to walk, scoot or cycle to school.

Despite delays in completion of the new school building and the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, staff have worked hard to secure the award with pupils and parents embracing initiatives such as free bike-safety checks, scooter training and road safety awareness.

Jaimie Milner is the active travel champion at Waverley Academy and brings a wealth of experience to the school after previously securing Rotherham’s first Gold Modeshift STARS award at Listerdale Junior Academy. With support from the STARS South Yorkshire active travel team, Rotherham Council and Living Streets, Jaimie has ambitious plans to earn another Gold at Waverley.

Jaimie said, “It was important for me to hit the ground running to make sure that we encouraged positive travel habits as soon as the school opened its doors. In our first school term, we have already launched our Living Streets Walk Once a Week campaign, 10 Day Active Travel Challenge, Golden Lock prize draw and we also offer class Dojos to those that walk, scoot or cycle to school. I am driven by the outcomes of our work and want to see Waverley Junior Academy recognised as one of the best STARS schools in the region.”

The Principal at Waverley Academy, Cathryn Keeton said: “I enjoy walking and cycling with my own family so I understand the value that active travel can bring to the health and wellbeing of all young people. I am extremely proud that we can offer a broad range of extra-curricular activities that support active travel, whilst teaching children the importance of keeping safe on their journey to school. This term 27 of our pupils completed Level 2 Bikeability on-road cycle training; with a further 55 pupils benefitting from cycle or scooter training in the playground. The response to our Dr Bike day was so overwhelming, we had to offer a second day. My bike, along with nearly 60 others belonging to pupils, was safety checked and serviced, meaning more pupils can now ride their bikes safely to school.”

The school celebrated Road Safety Week this November through assemblies, classroom sessions and a “be-bright, be-seen” non-uniform day. Pupils were encouraged to wear bright clothes and decorate their bikes and scooters with bold colours to help raise awareness of the importance of staying visible on the journey to school throughout the winter months. The school also launched a be-bright shop which quickly sold out of items including reflective stickers, slap bands and brightly coloured key rings to put on their book bags, coats, bikes and scooters. The money raised from the shop will be used for active travel initiatives and competition prizes later in the school year.

STARS South Yorkshire, Active Travel Officer for Rotherham, Dom Qaiser-Sweeting said, “Around 46% of primary aged children in England are normally driven to school so it is really exciting to see more than 84% of pupils at Waverley Junior Academy travelling to school under their own steam. It is amazing to see staff, pupils and parents already doing so much to support active travel. Wide, shared-use paths integrated into the new Waverley estate also make it easier and safer for families to scoot and cycle to school. I am confident that the school will encourage even more families to choose healthier and greener ways to travel and are likely to earn their Silver award before the end of the academic year.”

Published: 10th December 2020