Kick start healthy, active travel for students at your school with these initiatives and resources.
Walk to School Month
This October schools in Darebin will be joining hundreds of schools across Victoria to encourage primary school kids to walk, ride or scoot to school as part of VicHealth's Walk to School month. It's the perfect time to start some good habits and give your kids a jump start on the 60 minutes of daily physical exercise they need each day.
Twenty-one local primary schools took part last October and recorded over 78,800 walks, rides and scoots to school – we could have run a relay race around the earth and gone half way around again!
To help motivate families this year, fruit has been offered to schools who registered early. There are also competitions and participation prizes that include smoothie bike hire, spot prizes and fun incursions and excursions. First-time participating schools will receive $300 sports equipment vouchers. Also, in another first, schools have been invited to partner with Council in a student-led Walkshop, to help them brainstorm and plan their own events and activities.
Keep a look out for your local school crossing supervisors, sporting Walk to School colours of blue and purple, who are championing Walk to School Month and pledging their support by hosting their own roadside activities for kids.
For information about the program in Darebin, contact the Darebin Safe Travel team email email@example.com or call 9470 8383. VicHealth also has some good tips at www.walktoschool.vic.gov.au
Council is in its third year of the Octopus School Program, a program aimed at making walking, cycling, skating and scooting to school safe, easy and fun for families. The Octopus School Program will engage a local primary school for intensive assistance during 2019/20 financial year, including receiving over $150,000 investment in the school precinct and up to $50,000 to support active travel programs. Information on how to apply was provided to all Darebin primary schools and applications closed on 30 August 2019.
Newlands Primary School was selected as the second school in Darebin to take part in the Octopus School program in early 2019. They have received new bike and scooter parking that will now shelter 18 bikes and 18 scooters from the weather, and a local artist has just finished installing some fence art that celebrates active travel. A student and parent survey that was recently undertaken by the schools showed some fantastic statistics about families and students travelling actively to school – a parent workshop around these results was undertaken and some initiatives are currently being planned by the school and parents to keep this up.
Reservoir West Primary School piloted the Octopus School Program during 2018. This included intensive consultation with the school to determine an approach to increase the numbers of students walking, cycling and scooting to school. The school is now running Bike Ed for all students in Grade 3 to Grade 6, with the use of their brand new fleet of 18 bicycles, stored in their newly built bike shed. The Student Representative Council have been running a weekly active travel competition, and in 2018 a competition was held to design decals that were applied to the road surface outside the school. The image below shows the active travel mural that students help design as part of the program.
Active Routes to School
As part of the Octopus School program, Council have been assisting to map active routes to school. Directional decals (footpath stickers) showing the time to ride or walk have been placed along 3 different routes to both Octopus Schools – Reservoir West and Newlands Primary. Active routes for two other schools that are working towards Octopus School status have also been mapped. Thornbury Primary School and William Ruthven Primary School have had 3 routes each mapped and directions decals installed – some student designs have been printed as decals too and installed along these routes.
If your school applied to become an Octopus School and was unsuccessful, contact the Safe Travel Officer to talk about other ways to achieving Octopus School status.
Bike Fleet Giveaway
Reservoir East Primary School were the successful recipients of Council’s fourth annual Bike Fleet Giveaway. The grant program offers a bike fleet to one Darebin primary school to assist in the delivery of its bike education program. The grant has enabled past recipients Bell Primary School, Kingsbury Primary School and Preston West Primary School to provide students with training in cycling safety and safe travel, to help them get active and ride their bikes to school. Reservoir East Primary School will now also be able to deliver the program, with bikes available for students who do not have one, or live too far from school to bring their own.
Applications for the next Bike Fleet Giveaway will be open in early 2020.
To find out more contact Council's Safe Travel Officer on (03) 8470 8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Delivering Bike Ed in your school
Bike Ed is designed to help children in grades 3-6 develop skills to ride safely and independently on roads and paths. It involves a mix of practical and classroom activities. We can help fund teachers to undertake accredited Bike Ed instructor training. We can also source volunteers to assist teachers with Bike Ed delivery.
Take a look at the reading below, and find out all the ways Bike Ed can benefit your students:
We can also provide small amounts of cycle parking, advice and grant possibilities for larger bike parking requirements in and around the school, as well as prizes if you are running active travel promotions and events.
Bike Ed Evaluation
As Council supports local schools to run Bike Ed, we wanted to assess the outcomes for students that participate in this program. We asked students, parents and teachers to complete surveys before, immediately after, and three months after students completed Bike Ed. We found the following:
- The majority of students greatly increased their confidence levels. This was also observed by their parents
- The abilities needed to ride a bike were all found to improve, including riding in a straight line and using brakes
- The number of parents confident in their children’s road rules knowledge increased by 150%
- More than two thirds of students said they were riding more and 43% of parents observed their child riding more
- 71% of parents are confident that their child can ride a bike safely - an increase from 63% in the before survey
- 93% of parents felt the course had met their expectations
See the full evaluation report
For more information and to run Bike Ed in your school contact us..
Metro Trains Community Education Unit
Metro Community Education Unit will come out to your school to talk about safe travel on public transport and teach students about journey planning, ticketing and behaviour. Presentations can be tailored to areas of interest including assisting Grade 6 students with the transition to high school.
Walking School Bus - How to get started
A Walking School Bus is a group who walk to and from school along a set route picking up ‘passengers’ along the way. The bus is accompanied by at least two parents with one at the front, and another supervising at the back. It is a fun, energetic way to travel to school while also learning about street safety.
To find out how to run one, visit the VicHealth website. A Walking School Bus can run everyday or as little as one morning or afternoon a week. Consider dedicating one day to Walk Once a Week or Walk on Wednesday. Victoria Walks Smart Steps initiative features great ways to engage your family and school community in walking more.
School Travel Plans
School Travel Plans support an increase in students’ active travel to school whilst reducing the pick-up and drop-off traffic problems schools face.
Your school can also create a School Travel Plan to outline your objectives and approach. The Creative Communities website also features a Traffic Tamers School Program Manual which is another approach to encouraging active travel in schools.
Safe Travel Officer
Phone: 8470 8383
If you would like to make an enquiry or complaint about transport issues in your area, please contact our Customer Service Team. You can also find information about how traffic complaints are handled at the Traffic Concerns page.
Phone: 8470 8888