Back to school: pupils return safely to their classrooms

Kettering Buccleuch Academy

Back to school: pupils return safely to their classrooms

With the new school term now underway pupils across the county have been planning their safe routes back to the classroom – part of an active travel programme organised by Northamptonshire social enterprise Brightwayz.

Brightwayz, set up 17 years ago to help organisations across the UK develop safe, active, sustainable travel plans, has been supporting three secondary Kettering schools over the last two years – researching, collaborating, and advising on walking, cycling, scooting and road safety plans.

More than 2,300 pupils from Kettering Buccleuch Academy, Southfield School for Girls and Isebrook College have been involved in the ST:EPS (Safe Travel: Enabling Pupils and Schools) active travel programme, part funded by the Northamptonshire Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

This has seen a reduction in the number of cars parked outside school gates, as well as an increase in pupils walking and cycling to school.

Alison Holland, Founder of Brightwayz , said: “We designed our ST:EPS project to promote active travel and road safety to secondary schools. Covid meant some of our planned workshops couldn’t take place, so we adapted and developed resources for online assemblies, which schools totally embraced. Our target was to help 400 students but our move to online resources meant we were able to support six times more pupils than we had initially planned to. How incredible.“

Kettering Buccleuch Academy and Southfield School for Girls have since been awarded the Modeshift STARs accreditation, a national scheme that recognises travel plan excellence. Although the ST:EPS project has finished Brightwayz are continuing to support Isebrook College.

This ST:EPS programme was funded by the Office of Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime.

Stephen Mold, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, said: “I know all about the school run as a parent and making sure that our young people are as safe as they can be on the way to school is of huge importance to me as the Commissioner. I am honoured to have been able to help fund the ST:EPS programme, which has played a big part in helping to reduce potential incidents and to find safe and sustainable ways for our children to get to school.”

Brightwayz, originally known as Brightkidz, was launched in 2004 after founder Alison Holland set up a ‘walking bus’ scheme at her son’s school and realised there was a need for information and resources to support walk to school schemes. Brightwayz, as well as running projects and programmes, has a range of active travel campaign resources – including walk to school banners and stickers. 100% of profits are used to enable this social enterprise to carry out its work with schools, businesses, and organisations across the UK.

Another side of the organisation is, which sells customised promotional products to UK businesses. All the profits from this commercial arm of the organisation are fed back into supporting Brightwayz.

As part of this ST:EPS project Brightwayz has developed an online directory of local road safety and active travel resources and partners. This is now online and is being promoted to local schools.