Big Pedal 2016 – Final results for Gosforth

Well done to everyone who took part in this year’s Big Pedal, including 40% of pupils at Gosforth’s participating First and Primary Schools who scooted or cycled to school between 18-29 April.

ArchibaldBikeRack2

This is the final table for Gosforth’s schools. The position is the rank nationally out of 1,673 registered schools.

Position School Best 5 days
44 Brunton First School 71%
69 Grange First School 64%
163 Broadway East First School 52%
328 St Charles’ RC Primary School 41%
459 Archibald First School 35%
490 South Gosforth First School 35%
495 Newcastle School for Boys 34%
791 Archbishop Runcie CofE First School 24%
1085 Gosforth Central Middle School 8%

We asked the schools what they thought of The Big Pedal. This is what they said.

Mrs Carolyn Appleby, Assistant Headteacher, Brunton First School:

We love taking part in the Big Pedal every year. The children love the challenge of coming to school on their bikes and scooters and persuading their mums, dads, grandmas and granddads to join in too. The children love to fill in the child friendly survey and always ask to see where Brunton is in terms of our regional position and in terms of the position of other Gosforth schools in our Trust.

“When the sun was shining (it was a tough week with all of the weather options happening in one day) the car park was less congested and it was a pleasure to see so many children and adults riding to school rather than driving their cars. It was a fun two weeks with lots of happy, smiley children.”

Mrs Julia Bayes, Headteacher, Archibald First School:

There was a definite increase in children coming to school by scooter or cycle during the Big Pedal. Standing on the roadside, as I do most mornings, it was clear to see the enjoyment on children’s faces and those of their supporters, be they parents or siblings. Providing an active start to the school day can be beneficial in the drive to encourage increased physical activity for all.

Mr David Tickner, Headmaster, Newcastle School for Boys:

We were really pleased with the levels of participation in the Big Pedal this year. Myself and some of our other members of staff are keen cyclists so we made sure to join the boys and also cycle into school for the week. It was a really enjoyable experience for all who took part and we really hope that this will have a longer term impact on how our boys travel to and from school. As a school, we’re always looking for ways to promote healthy lifestyles and exercise as well as being committed to reducing traffic at and around our school sites so this provided a perfect solution.”

The Big Pedal has a serious message about the benefits of being active as well as helping to reduce car traffic and pollution around the school gates, and it would be great if it does have a longer term impact. The benefits of active travel – walking, scooting, cycling – are relevant no matter how old you are whether travelling to first, middle or high school, or to work as this article from the International Business Times sets out.

Keeping this going will be challenging, but it is possible with the right changes. 75% of all Dutch secondary school children cycle to school – and that’s an average for the whole year round. By creating safe routes for children to travel, the Netherlands also has one of the best records for child pedestrian safety in Europe, one of the lowest proportions of overweight children. They are also ranked first by Unicef for the overall well-being of their children (the UK is 16th).

This film from the aviewfromthecyclepath blog shows how they do it…

3 thoughts on “Big Pedal 2016 – Final results for Gosforth

  1. Liam

    Well done Gosforth Schools. Cycle segregation on dedicated ways is all well and good as in Holland where the road layouts are constructed specifically for such, but to intimate that this is something that could happen in Gosforth is pie in the sky. It may be feasible for new housing at Kingston Park, Great Park and Callerton but then you have to join the existing system which is far from desirable.

    Reply
    1. Rupert Post author

      Liam, thanks for reading and commenting on the article. As you say, the existing roads aren’t entirely desirable and don’t always encourage people (and certainly not young children) to get out on their bikes. That said, I don’t think it’s true to say there’s nothing we can do about it.

      The changes the Dutch made, including to their older more narrow streets, to make them safer for everyone to walk and cycle on are well understood and with the right will could happen here too.

      Reply
  2. Emily

    Where primary children have a ‘local’ primary school in their area and an adult that is available to assist them with getting to school on wheels the % could be even higher. We maybe have to look wider and think why children are not going to their closest school, or their parents / carers ‘don’t have time’ to drop off by bike so take them in the car (e.g. part time workers who have to get to work as soon as possible and/or don’t themselves feel comfortable on a bike/bus for various reasons).

    Reply

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