Schools celebrate win

Some of the winning team from John Spence Community School

Hundreds of pupils at John Spence Community School in North Shields walked, cycled and scooted to and from school this winter to win first place in a sustainable travel competition.

Organised by Go Smarter, Tyne and Wear’s sustainable travel programme, the contest encouraged secondary school students across the region to use greener and healthier modes of transport throughout November, instead of getting a lift in the car.

Pupils from years seven to nine at John Spence School took part and together they travelled more miles under their own power than any of the other schools competing, winning a prize of £1,000 for the school.

Adam Pilkington from John Spence Community School, said:

“We are extremely proud to have taken on the Go the Extra Mile Challenge! At John Spence we have a large number of students who regularly travel to school in a healthy and economic way via scooter, foot or bike. We are proud of our bustling bike sheds and our current cycling developments within the school, both in and out of curriculum time.

“This was a real team event from everybody at John Spence and the money will be gratefully received to further enhance the opportunities for our pupils, staff and local community.”

Cllr Frank Lott, Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “Congratulations to the team at John Spence School on achieving this standard and winning the top prize. This is an excellent reward for their hard work and commitment to encourage safer and sustainable travel for school journeys in the borough.

“The Council works with schools to develop plans, which set out a number of practical ways to reduce the number of car trips made to and from school, to encourage more walking and cycling and to improve safety on the school journey.  I hope that the students enjoyed taking part in the challenge and that they’ll use more sustainable and green transport in the future.”

Studies have found that just 20 minutes of exercise per day can make school children more focussed, productive and healthy. By walking, cycling and scooting to and from school, the pupils are also helping the environment, cutting emissions from cars and helping to reduce traffic and congestion.

Runners up in the competition were Jarrow School and South Shields Community School, each winning a prize of £500.

Go Smarter works to help people get to and from school and work in ways that are cheaper, better for the environment, and healthier. The Go Smarter Journey Planner is fun and easy to use and can be found on the Go Smarter website,

Over the past year, Go Smarter has encouraged thousands of pupils across Tyne & Wear to walk, cycle and scoot to and from school. Go Smarter also runs road safety projects with schools and provides cycle training for pupils.