Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport, presented the 2017 National STARS School Travel Awards at the Houses of Parliament this week.
The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) won the National STARS Secondary School of the Year award, in recognition of a 9% reduction in car use following the introduction of their in-house bus service. The bus network serves pupils living within a 30 mile radius of the school, including services to Harrogate, Knaresborough, Wetherby and surrounding villages.
The national awards are the highest accolade in the Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition for Schools) scheme, established to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable school travel.
Andrew Jones MP said: “It is inspiring to learn about the creative and innovative ways schools are promoting sustainable travel. The STARS scheme ensures that young people and their families are more active and helps to reduce congestion on our roads, particularly at peak times.”
GSAL’s innovative approach includes creating GSAL Transport Limited to run the school bus service and provide affordable reliable transport to other local schools. The service has proved popular with pupils, who got enthusiastically on board when invited to give each bus a name in a fun competition.
Shirley Jeffs, of GSAL’s transport team, said: “It’s a real honour to be presented with this award, which recognises the commitment from our pupils, their families and our staff in creating a culture of sustainable travel. Getting our pupils engaged is key and we are proud to offer them a bus service where they feel welcome and safe, and support them in choosing other sustainable transport options wherever possible.”