A new national award – the School Mark – has been created to honour schools that have taken part in the Bike It scheme.
The School Mark scheme will include three levels of award; a bronze prize will be granted to schools that have worked with their Bike It officer to boost cycle numbers, while a silver prize will be given to schools that demonstrate a prolonged effort to encourage pupils to cycle beyond the initial year. A Gold Award will be granted to schools that show an ongoing commitment to the cycling project over several years, with little or no input from a Bike It officer.
Bike It, run by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, has 44 officers working with school across England and Wales to boost cyclist numbers among pupils and students. The scheme is supported by the Bike Hub – a cycle trade initiative developed by the Bicycle Association and Association of Cycle Traders and contributed to by cycle industry companies.
Bike It project director Paul Osborne said: “Cycling to school has multiple benefits for children’s health, their sense of independence and alertness in class – not to mention the easing of congestion on local roads. “With this new School Mark scheme we hope to reinforce the praiseworthy efforts of teachers, children and parents to transform the school run by setting clear and achievable targets to bring about long-lasting change.”
Bicycle Association deputy president Phillip Darnton said: “We need Bike It to become a way of life in every school, creating an enduring force for future generations – and that is where the Bike It School Mark comes in. “The scheme aims to recognise those schools that work hard to build a durable cycling culture, making sure that it thrives long after their Bike It officer has moved on.”