In May 2016, we were awarded our 4th Green Flag on the theme of TRAVEL. Ms. Mc Caffrey and three members of the Green Schools Committee were presented with the flag during a special award ceremony in Dublin. Marty Mone visited our school in June 2016 to raise our Green Flag and the parents, staff and pupils enjoyed a sing-along with him in celebration.
The Travel theme is funded by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and supported by the National Transport Authority. Green-Schools have dedicated Travel Education Officers throughout the country who are working closely with schools to support them through the 7-step process.
As part of our Action Plan we were required to set out our own travel targets, with the ultimate aim of increasing the number of pupils walking, cycling, park ‘n’ stride, carpooling or using public transport, which will ease congestion by reducing the number of private cars arriving at the school gates. Here is a copy of our Action Plan.
By promoting sustainable transport modes (walking, cycling, car pooling or public transport), we can also improve pupils’ safety, health and fitness. The journey to school is an ideal way for children to take part in regular physical activity, to interact with their peers, and to develop the road sense children need as pedestrians and cyclists. Alternative modes of transport also improve children’s alertness. We also aimed to lessen our overall impact on the environment, by reducing emissions and pollution. Throughout the two years the committee took part in several traffic count survey, travel surveys, pollution and air quality experiments. The whole school were encouraged to take part in our organised WOW (walk on Wednesday) and COW (cycle on Wednesday) days. The committee recorded the results each week and the class who received the best results were awarded the GOLDEN BOOT. Classes also received other rewards for participating such as No Homework and extra Golden Time.
Over the two completed academic years of the programme in Scoil Phádraig, we recorded an average reduction in car journeys to school of 22% and an average increase in walking and cycling of 32% per year through the promotion of WOW days, COW days and other fun and inclusive activities. The Travel theme is now acknowledged as a ‘best practice’ model for sustainable school travel within the international FEE network.