Bramble Brae Top of the Class for Active Travel(14 February 2011)
The Hands Up Survey is conducted annually by Aberdeen City Council and the sustainable transport charity Sustrans to find out how children travel to and from school. Results for the 2010 survey reveal that 83% of Bramble Brae pupils walk or cycle to school on a regular basis, the highest proportion out of any primary school in Aberdeen and well above the City average of 61%.
The award was presented by Will Hekelaar and Chris Philip of Aberdeen City Council’s transport team. Mr Hekelaar said, “Traditionally, Aberdeen has had high levels of walking and cycling to school but in recent years we have seen these numbers decline, as parents become more and more concerned about the volume of traffic on our roads and the safety of their children travelling alone. This has led to a year-on-year increase in the number of children being driven to school.
“These are valid fears but it is well known that many Scottish schoolchildren are not achieving their recommended daily exercise levels. A short walk or cycle to and from school every day is an easy way for children to incorporate a little bit of exercise into their daily routines. Research has shown that children really benefit from such exercise first thing in the morning and arrive at school more alert and ready to learn as a result.
“There can also be road safety benefits in letting children walk or cycle to school. Fewer cars on the road at the beginning and end of the school day, particularly around the school gates, means a safer environment for all. It is true also that children learn independent road safety skills when walking or cycling to school, skills that cannot be gained by sitting in the back of a car.
“We therefore think it is important that pupils from Bramble Brae School are recognised for their achievement in having the highest active travel to school rate in Aberdeen. It will be interesting to see how they compare with other schools across Scotland when the full results of the survey are published by Sustrans later this year. Hopefully, the incentive of gaining a trophy for the school, which has been purchased by Aberdeen City Council with funding from Sustrans, will encourage pupils from other schools in Aberdeen to try to walk and cycle to school more during 2011”.
Paul Rooke, Acting Head Teacher at Bramble Brae, added, "I am absolutely delighted for our youngsters to be receiving this award. We have a real focus on living a healthy lifestyle and I firmly agree that a walk to school is a great opportunity to get a little exercise. I must acknowledge the support of parents and school staff in ensuring that our pupils are fully aware of the issues around road safety. And finally, well done to the children themselves who demonstrate good choice in terms of getting to and from school and also looking out for each other while they are on their travels."