Sholing Junior School achieves Platinum Modeshift STARS Award

Sholing Junior School has become the first school in Southampton to achieve the coveted Platinum Modeshift STARS Awards for its outstanding efforts in promoting walking, cycling and scooting to school.

The Platinum award is the highest accolade awarded by Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition Scheme), a national scheme acknowledging schools that have excelled in encouraging active travel on the school run. Crucially, schools must evidence a 5% increase in active travel in the last four academic years in order to reach this celebrated milestone.  

Southampton City Council’s School Travel team works closely with many schools across the city, providing a wide range of initiatives to help them achieve their accreditation. Having become the first Gold accredited school in 2018, Sholing Junior School has continued to work tirelessly to change travel behaviour and tackle poor air quality on the school run.  

Led by dedicated Travel Champion, Angela Manore, the school takes every opportunity to participate in all the activities delivered and supported by the council, including the Inter-School Scooter Challenge; Walk to School Week; No Idling sessions; Travel Tracker monitoring and Sustrans’ Big Pedal competition – to name but a few.

As well as taking part in these already well-established initiatives, the school’s active and motivated team of 34 Junior Travel Ambassadors makes sure they go even further by devising their own independent activities such as the creation of ‘No Idling’ posters, the Babs travel diary and the distribution of badges to all classes.

Parking has been a big focus for the school, which previously delivered an ‘Awesome Parking Notices event’ awarding certificates to parents for responsible parking, and a ‘Park and Stride’ poster competition signposting parents to the nearby Veracity area for parking. Kiddie cones are also a familiar feature and, along with recently installed camera enforcement in the area, help to further prevent parking on the zig zags outside the school’s main entrance. These efforts have translated into promising results, with the number of families choosing to park and stride having increased from 17% in 2015/16 to 31% in 2019/20.

The school is dedicated to tackling poor air quality and previously hosted an ‘Air Quality at our School’ presentation with support from Southampton City Council’s School Travel Officer. The event was attended by pupils, parents and residents and included an air quality presentation from Professor Ian Williams (University of Southampton) while a selection of children had the opportunity to read out their letters to their local MP about their concerns around air quality and climate change. Most recently, the school received an Airly air quality sensor from the council to help monitor and raise awareness of the air quality in the local area.

In July this year, the school was also crowned just one of eleven ‘Schools of the Region’ in this year’s National STARS School Travel Awards. These successes provide just a snapshot of the many more initiatives and activities which the school has been involved in and which collectively attest to the school’s evident and lasting commitment to improving travel behaviour and air quality.

Angela Manore, Sholing Junior School Travel Champion, says:
“I am so proud of what we have achieved at Sholing Juniors to improve active travel and reduce air pollution. We have an amazing team of Junior Travel Ambassadors, who are passionate about reducing pollution and improving our air quality. They continually work hard to promote active travel within our school community and they are so dedicated year upon year. I thank all of the current JTAs and those who have moved onto other schools. This award is wonderful and we will continue to keep promoting active travel.”

Rachel Oliver, Sustainable Transport Officer, says:
“Sholing Juniors have worked tirelessly to encourage active travel, promoting a healthier lifestyle and reducing pollution around their school. The Platinum award could not have been achieved without the tremendous support from Angela Manore and Junior Travel Ambassadors. Collectively they continue to inspire and encourage both the students and staff at Sholing, in the hopes of building a better more sustainable future. A massive congratulations to all involved, this award is such a great achievement!”

 Councillor Jeremy Moulton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Growth, says:
“This is an excellent achievement and is testament to the outstanding efforts of Sholing Junior School, which is truly leading the way for a healthier, more active school run here in the city. Staff, pupils and families alike should all be exceptionally proud. Congratulations and keep up the good work!”

School Travel Champion, Angela Manore, with Year 3 Junior Travel Ambassadors