AN ALLEN Valleys school has been recognised for its proactive approach to sustainable travel.

Allendale Primary School was recognised at the virtual National STARS Schools of the Year Awards after being shortlisted as Schools of Region in November 2019.

And despite its rural location Allendale Primary School has increased those walking or cycling to school by 39 per cent, helped to introduce traffic calming measures outside the school and in the village, encouraged cycle and scooter play times and created an inclusive environment where parents and children are included in all initiatives.

As regional winners in the Primary School category they were recognised for creating a safer and more friendly environment for people who are on foot or bike and helping to instil values in children that are beneficial to their physical and mental health.

Alison Hawkins, headteacher of Allendale Primary School, said Modeshift STARS has benefited the school community enormously.

She explained: “It provided a focus for the improvements we’ve made in encouraging so many families to participate in walking, cycling and scooting and getting our local councillor involved in improving road safety around school.

“The inclusion in the national awards shortlist was just a bonus and provided lots more ideas of how to continue to develop our active travel plan.”

Modeshift STARS is the national school awards scheme that has been established to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.

The scheme encourages schools across the country to join in a major effort to increase levels of sustainable and active travel in order to improve the health and well-being of children and young people and reduce car use.

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Northumberland County Council cabinet member with responsibility for Children’s Services, said: “It is a great achievement for both schools to be recognised this way. They have shown how simple steps such as these can make such a difference and empower our youngest residents to help create a more sustainable future.”

Tweedmouth Community Middle School, in Berwick, was awarded the regional winner in the Secondary School category and National Secondary STARS school of the year in 2019 after seeing a 13 per cent increase in walking to school over the last two years.

In Northumberland schools are supported by the Go Smarter team to promote sustainable travel and road safety as well as developing School Travel Plans.

Any school in Northumberland can participate for free in Modeshift STARS. On completion of an application for Modeshift STARS, schools will automatically have a brand new national standard School Travel Plan.