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School year starts with cycling success

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Three more Reading schools have signed up to the Reading Borough Council’s ‘Bike It’ scheme, aimed at encouraging children to get into cycling or scooting to school.

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It comes as Southcote Primary School becomes the second school in Reading to achieve the national Sustrans School Mark Bronze award for its ‘Bike It’ scheme success.

The schools joining ‘Bike It’ are St. Martin’s Catholic Primary School, Wilson Primary School and Ridgeway Primary School. They join a total of 22 schools across Reading already taking part. More than 120 children, ranging from the ages of 4 to 11, have hopped on their bikes for a number of launch events at the three schools. These have included assemblies, bikers’ breakfasts, incentive schemes and competitions supported by ‘Bike It’ officer Ellie Ellwood.

Mo Galway, Headteacher at Wilson Primary School, said: “Joining the Bike It scheme has already raised the level of interest and enthusiasm at our school for cycling and scooting. We decided to get involved in the scheme largely for the health benefits to our pupils, but also as a way of reducing traffic congestion around the school at drop off and pick up times.”

Meanwhile, Southcote Primary is celebrating its Bronze School Mark award with a fun-packed day for pupils, including a number of ‘Bike It’ events and an award presentation. Staff, pupils and parents have worked hard since becoming a ‘Bike It’ school to increase the shift towards sustainable travel to school.

Lisa Telling, Headteacher at Southcote Primary School, said: “Since joining Bike It in January, we have managed to raise a huge amount of interest amongst pupils, parents and staff. The change towards travelling to school on foot or by scooter or bike has been very noticeable, with 70% of our pupils using a sustainable option rather than a car journey to get to school. We are very pleased to achieve the School Mark Bronze award to recognise this.”

‘Bike It’ is a schools project run by national charity Sustrans, enabling pupils and parents to make smarter, more active travel choices on the school run. The scheme is funded by Reading Borough Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Nationally, 50% of children say they want to cycle to school, but only 2% do. ‘Bike It’ aims to help bridge the gap by giving children independence, better health and reducing congestion around the school gate. There are now 25 schools in the greater Reading area actively involved in the Bike It scheme.

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Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “It is encouraging to see children getting into walking, cycling and scooting to school, thanks to the staff and parents who have put so much effort into the Bike It scheme. I would like to congratulate Southcote Primary for its investment into Bike It. The School Mark Bronze award is a well-deserved recognition of the hard work put into the scheme to make it such a success.”

Ellie Ellwood, ‘Sustrans Bike It’ officer added: “Bike It is a brilliant way to get children excited about cycling and scooting to school through all sorts of fun events and activities. The project enables families to make smarter travel choices for the school run by providing cycle training and bike maintenance, whilst raising awareness about the importance of exercise and the health benefits that cycling, scooting and walking can bring.”

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