It is important to get around the borough safely. And it is important to stay physically active to remain healthy. School pupils from across the borough are helping to lead the way towards bringing these two elements together through ‘active travel’.
Junior travel ambassadors (JTAs) form a pupil council (usually comprised of year 5 and 6 pupils) at each school. They specialise in promoting active and sustainable travel such as walking, scooting or cycling, as well as road safety. The ambassadors get together on a regular basis with a member of school staff to discuss ways they can promote these positive messages through activities they can run themselves.
Helen Collinson (pictured above with Oaklands Primary School JTAs) is the school travel champion at Oaklands Primary School, in Hanwell, and has just taken up the role of active travel officer at Ealing Council. She said: “Our JTAs’ visibility and hard work has helped to increase the numbers of children cycling, scooting and walking to school each day.”
JTAs from schools across Ealing attended an inaugural event recently that was held to discuss active travel in their schools and how they can help to make the borough a healthier, safer and better place to live. The day involved workshops on public speaking at assemblies, promotion of campaigns, running competitions and planning for Road Safety Week.
As part of the council’s Get Moving campaign, cycling, walking or scooting is highly recommended – especially when taking short trips around the borough, such as going to and from school. The benefits of deciding to take an active means of transport instead of sitting in a car or on public transport can reduce the risk of suffering serious health conditions, cut congestion on the roads and help to improve air quality for all.
‘FUN AND ENGAGING’
Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for schools and children’s services, said: “Our dedicated JTAs across the borough are key to spreading the message of active and safe travel within schools. By educating their fellow pupils in fun and engaging ways, they help more children to understand how to stay safe on Ealing’s roads.”
Throughout Road Safety Week, schools promoted the important safety message by holding Be Bright Be Seen ‘mufti days’ and held competitions for poetry and posters where prizes included reflectors for bikes or scooters and having the winning designs included in their school’s newsletter.
If a school would like to take action on road safety and promote lifesaving messaging through the annual programme, staff can find guidance, ideas for noticeboards, monthly bulletins and more under the school travel plans section at www.egfl.org.uk