The Long Eaton School is proving its commitment to sustainability after reporting a huge proportion of students walking or cycling to their lessons.
The academy on Thoresby Road surveyed hundreds of pupils on how they travelled to school and found that 11% were cycling in and 65% were getting there on foot.
That puts the school massively above the national average with government figures showing only around 3% of pupils in the country cycle to school, and sustainable transport charity Sustrans reporting only 2%.
When it comes to walking, the most recent government figures show only 37% of secondary-age students come to school on foot.
At The Long Eaton School some year groups have up to 12% of students using pedal power to get in.
The school’s survey comes during walking, wheeling and cycling charity Sustrans’ “Big Walk and Wheel” challenge which runs until March 31 and aims to inspire pupils across the UK to be active and improve air quality by making active journeys to school.
The Long Eaton School principal Mark Shipman said: “We strive to be environmentally conscious as a school, which has led to us implementing resources for our staff and students to remove barriers and make being sustainable accessible.
“This is what led us to introducing so many bike racks, to encourage cycling as a mode of transport into the school, and it has worked. We are proud of our students for their efforts to be eco and making the most of the bike facilities, as well as those choosing to walk to school.”
The school survey’s interesting results show that in year 10, 160 out of 201 students are coming to school on foot and 25 by bike, while in Year 8, 115 students are walking while 25 choose to cycle.
As an eco-school, The Long Eaton School is proud to beat the averages and see students using sustainable methods to travel in. With the history of the school dating back to the former establishment on the site having been opened by Samuel Clegg, grandfather of Sir David Attenborough, being eco-friendly is high on the school’s agenda and this translates into its current students’ daily habits.
Year 10 student, 14-year-old Teihlan Ross, said: “One of the reasons I like cycling into school, is that I know by getting me from A to B it is reducing my carbon footprint and I’m not polluting the atmosphere as much as someone going by car or by bus, so that’s helping the environment a little bit.
“I’ll pretty much ride in every weather, so long as it’s not going to get my uniform too muddy for school.”
Fellow classmate, 15-year-old Mckenzie Lee, said:
“I cycle because it’s quicker than walking. It only takes me about 10 minutes down the canal, and it gives me some headspace, as well as just being efficient.”
Many students are able to cycle to school down the Erewash Canal, making things safer for them in not having to negotiate too many busy roads.
Only one school bus ferries pupils to the school, bringing around 20 students there and back from Shardlow.
Teihlan has taken up downhill racing on his bike, progressing from just using his biking for commuting purposes to riding for pleasure and sport. He said: “I really like doing my downhill riding and have learnt new skills since getting into it, like teaching myself to repair my bike when its broken.”
The academy has been taking note of the percentages of its student who travel in via bike or walking and are now looking into the ways it can encourage even more students to get involved.
Academy Manager Debra Willey said: “Before Covid we had successful cycling proficiency courses, and we have started the conversation of bringing these back, as well as possibly introducing bike repair courses to equip students with the skills that will give them confidence to cycle more.”