Octopus Schools in Darebin

The Octopus School Program, an award-winning program aimed at making walking, cycling, skating and scooting to school safe, easy and fun for families.

Octopus Schools

Council is in its third round of the Octopus School Program, an award-winning program aimed at making walking, cycling, skating and scooting to school safe, easy and fun for families.

One local primary school is awarded intensive assistance in each round. Council invests up to $150,000 on a mix of active travel initiatives and road safety improvements around each school.

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.

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 Views Primary School is the successful recipient of the 2020 Round 3 Octopus School. The school has received a bike shed and a fleet of children’s bicycles to support the introduction of Bike Education to the school’s curriculum. Three active travel routes to school have been identified and footpath markers (known as decals) were designed by the students and installed along these routes.

There is an Active Travel trophy awarded each week to the class who has the highest number of students walking, scooting or riding to school that week. A parent and student travel survey has been conducted to understand people’s travel preferences. In 2021 Darebin Council will continue to collaborate with students, teachers and parents to promote active travel initiatives.

Active Routes to School

As part of the Octopus School program, Council has 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.