How to make a 21st Century school embrace active travel

At April’s monthly meeting we had one of our founder members, Dafydd Trystan give a talk about his experiences of trying to make a new 21st Century school into an active travel school.

Dafydd is the Chair of Governors at Ysgol Hamadryad and has managed to set up the new school with a car exclusion zone, walking buses, travel planning and a range of other sustainability initiatives.

He gave a talk about his experiences at the last Assembly Cross Party Group on the Active Travel Act, and the battle with the unhelpful guidance for 21st Century schools, which received rave reviews.

Active Travel for Schools

Below are a list of bullet points that sum up the main points of Dafydd’s talk:

Ysgol Hammadryad
A warm welcome for Dafydd Trystan
  • Get the governors onboard
  • Engagement with council – particularly important when it comes to hard measures
  • Personal travel planning by Parents – ask every parent to set out their personalised travel plan to school —identify difficulties to overcome – everyone did, in the end
  • Engagement with local residents – beware the pitchforks – ensure sufficient residents parking to deter parents from further out.
  • Soft measures – support and guidance to parents
  • School infrastructure – bike and scooter parking; year 1 lessons on scooting and biking
  • Hard infrastructure – reconfiguration of junctions/20mph and no local parking. Principal entrance is in the park
  • Walking bus – set it up confidently from the start – pay people to get it off the ground. Before and after school
Initial results
  • 0% of parents driving to school site during January
  • Plenty of walking, cycling & scooting
  • Around two dozen using the walking bus
  • Riding everyday gave the kids the confidence to ride in adverse weather
  • Unintended consequence: More engagement in litter-picking – improved community cohesion.
  • Whole school support
  • Significant expertise and commitment from governors
  • Pockets of support from council staff, with political support from willing councillors if necessary
  • Parents and children engaged
  • Location shaped the plan
  • Fun
Dafydd explaining about the walking bus
  • No 21st century schools guidance – inadequate requirements for parking at school
  • Pockets of resistance from Council
  • Local resident scepticism
  • Lack of broader transport infrastructure
  • Practical aspects – synchronise watches etc
  • School timetable – breakfast & after-schools clubs
  • Staff resources – an hour extra pay for a teacher or member of staff
  • Ongoing financial commitment from school budget
  • Safety of the Walking Bus route – thorns, litter, uneven paving etc
  • More work on staff and visitor transport
  • Deliveries
  • Expand walking bus provision
  • Work with nurseries & private providers
  • Wrap-around care
  • Press for Nextbike provision
  • Pont Hamadryad, Clarence Bridge etc
  • New parents
A final summary…
  • Identify champions
  • Agree a vision
  • Work hard on detailed plan
  • Work with people at individual level
  • Support and encourage
  • Deal with non-compliance
  • Ask for help
  • Build feedback into the system – there will always be things you haven’t thought of
  • Have fun!


If you have an opinion on the points raised in the presentation, or if you want to know more about how to make your school run more ‘active’, then leave a message in the comments box below:

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