With pupils between the ages of three and 18 from across West and North Yorkshire, GSAL is the first secondary provider or through school in Yorkshire and the Humber to earn gold in the Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools) awards. The school’s bus service caters for pupils from a wide radius, including Ilkley and Wharfedale, Harrogate, Knaresborough and Wetherby, Tadcaster, south Leeds and points in between.
The Modeshift STARS awards provide nationally recognised accreditation for schools that are active in promoting sustainable modes of travel, including support for cycling and walking. GSAL achieved the bronze award in 2014, and has now been fast-tracked to gold in recognition of initiatives in the last two years.
These include setting up an in-house bus company, GSAL Transport Ltd, which can offer routes that respond to the needs of GSAL families and provide transport services for other schools, using low-emission vehicles to comply with environmental requirements.
Getting the pupils involved has also been key – each bus now has a name following a fun competition among the younger children, pupils’ artwork on display by the roadside conveys safety messages and the views of the School Council are taken on board in travel planning.
Paul Womersley, director of estates at GSAL, said:
This award is a welcome endorsement of our work developing transport options for our pupils, and we’re grateful for the input of the whole school community. We will continue to work together to ensure we offer real travel choices that meet the needs of all our families and improve the school environment.
The Modeshift STARS gold award is for schools that have excelled with promoting sustainable travel and reducing car use on the journey to school by embracing sustainable travel as the norm throughout the school community.
To earn the gold award, GSAL had to submit its school travel plan and demonstrate success in a series of initiatives in categories such as promoting walking and cycling, public transport actions and working with other schools to promote safe and sustainable travel.