A SCHOOL is encouraging more of its pupils to cycle by providing secure parking for up to 70 bikes.
St Hild’s Church of England School, in Hartlepool, sees cycling as a key element of its on-going drive to encourage pupils to lead safer and healthier lifestyles.
The school, including pupils who are members of the School Council, has been working closely with Robert Snowball, Hartlepool Borough Council’s sustainable travel officer, to promote cycling on a daily basis.
Mr Snowball said: “The school previously had some uncovered cycle parking, but this was heavily used and pupils often had trouble getting a space.
“It was pupils themselves who raised this issue via the School Council and it is heartening that a significant number are keen to cycle on a regular basis.
“The existing parking has now been covered and a new secure compound has been built using funding of £17,500 from the council’s Safer Routes to School initiative and a smaller amount from the school’s own funds.
“It is important that pupils know that their bikes are safe and secure when they are in lessons and, hopefully, this will result in more of them cycling to and from school.”
Assistant headteacher Grant Carswell said: “Our students really appreciate having space to leave their bikes and scooters in safety and protected from the weather.
We have already seen a more than 50 per cent increase in the number of boys and girls coming to school on their bikes and scooters.”
The school recently highlighted its commitment to cycling by holding a Bike to School Breakfast as part of Bike Week and it used a stamp card system to reward pupils who cycled each day for the duration of the week.
Pupils were entered into a draw which offered a bike as top prize. This was won by Year 10 student Craig Vincent who always rides his bike to school. Other prizes include helmets and locks.