Sholing Junior School scoops one of top prizes in 2020/21 Modeshift STARS awards

Sholing Junior School has been crowned just one of eleven ‘Schools of the Region’ in this year’s National STARS School Travel Awards. The annual awards, run by Modeshift STARS, gives councils the opportunity to nominate their local STARS accredited schools in four categories recognising the most successful early years establishments and primary, secondary and SEND schools of the year. The accolade is testament to Sholing Junior School’s exceptional efforts in promoting walking, cycling and scooting on the school run.

Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accreditation and Recognition Scheme) is a national scheme acknowledging schools that have excelled in encouraging active travel. Southampton City Council’s School Travel team works closely with several schools across the city, providing a wide range of initiatives to help them achieve their accreditation. Sholing Junior first became a Gold accredited school back in 2018, making them the first school in the city to reach this much celebrated milestone. Since then, the school has continued its tireless work 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 My Journey Team, 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.

More recently, the school 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.

These efforts 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:

“We are so proud to have won Modeshift Stars School of the Region. Well done to all the Junior Travel Ambassadors and all the active travellers of Sholing Junior School. We continually work together at Sholing to promote and encourage active travel which is such an important habit to get into for our health and the future of our environment.”

Councillor Moulton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Growth, says:

“This is a massive and well-deserved achievement for a school that has truly gone above and beyond. Congratulations to Sholing Junior School, the local community and all of our team at Southampton City Council for their continued hard work in supporting the school’s exceptional efforts. Well done!”