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Pupil pedal-power puts Cumbria on the podium

March 28, 2013

School pupils across Cumbria have reduced their carbon footprint and stayed healthy as part of a three-week challenge that saw almost 10,000 journeys to school made by walking, scooting or cycling.

The Big Pedal national challenge involved hundreds of pupils, parents and staff travelling to school in greener and healthier ways. Schools recorded each journey made and every trip to school counted toward a ‘virtual’ stage race around the UK.

The annual competition, which ran from 28 February to 20 March, saw nearly three times as many schools taking part this year compared to 2012. The 10,000 Cumbrian journeys contributed to around 847,000 journeys travelled nationwide.

The national event is organised by Sustrans, a cycling charity, with support in Cumbria from the county council’s Active Travel team.

Judith Aris, Active Travel Officer, said: “It’s fantastic that so many schools took part in the competition. We really wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling or scooting to school and I feel that the initiative has achieved this.

“I’d like to say well done to all pupils who took part and battled the difficult weather to be part of the competition – hopefully they will keep pedalling next term!”

Sarah Varian, headteacher at Crosby-on-Eden School, which finished fourth in the UK in the small primary schools category and first in England, said: “All pupils made a big effort to arrive at school by bike or scooter for the whole of the three-week Big Pedal.

“Staff were also fully involved – the car park was empty for the duration of the Big Pedal – with staff parking half a mile or more from school and cycling the rest of the way. Those who were unable to cycle scooted from the village hall! A fantastic achievement to come first in England. We could not have done it without the support of our whole school community.”

Gillian Spokes, deputy headteacher at Workington’s Victoria Junior School, said: “We had a great time participating in the Big Pedal. We encourage our children to be healthy and fit and as part of this we allow pupils to come to school on their scooters all year round and have even designated part of the school yard for scooter use.”

Kirkby Stephen Primary really got into the spirit of the event with staff and pupils dressing as superheroes for the journey to school on the first day of the Big Pedal (photo attached below).

Grasmere Primary even set up a cycle train from Ambleside to Grasmere and had two members of staff cycling with the children on the days they took part in the Big Pedal.

Details of Cumbrian schools that took part in the challenge and their ranking in the race are as follows:

Small primary schools (less than 150 pupils)

No of schools in North West who took part – 16

No of schools nationally who took part - 118

Small primary schools (less than 150 pupils)

No of schools in North West who took part – 16

No of schools nationally who took part - 118

North West ranking  School  Location  National ranking
1  Crosby-on-Eden CofE School  Crosby-on-Eden, Carlisle  4
4 St Oswald's CofE Primary School  Burneside, Kendal  20
Plumpton School  Penrith  26
Great Corby Primary School Carlisle  36
Seascale Primary School  Seascale  41
10  Cummersdale School  Carlisle  58
11  Dean Barwick School  Grange Over Sands  59
12 Warcop CofE Primary School  Appleby 68
16 Ulverston CofE Infant School  Ulverston 112

Large Primary schools – over 150 pupils

No of schools in North West who took part – 68

No of schools nationally who took part - 694


North West ranking School Location National ranking
18 Victoria Junior School  Barrow-in-Furness  202 
19 Thomlinson Junior School  Wigton 211
20 Yarlside Primary School  Barrow-in-Furness  214 
33 Dean Gibson Catholic Primary School  Kendal 431
45 Victoria Junior School  Workington 570

Secondary Schools

No of schools in North West that took part – seven

No of schools nationally that took part - 44

North West ranking School Location National ranking
3 Richard Rose Morton Academy  Carlisle  16
5 John Ruskin School  Coniston 35
7 Solway Community Technology College  Silloth 44

Vickerstown Primary School in Barrow also took part in the challenge, making 84 journeys to school, 54 of which were by children.


The Big Pedal
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