The Schools Go Smarter Newsletter - Winter 2016

Welcome to the Schools Go Smarter Newsletter, winter 2016

Welcome to the winter edition of the Schools Go Smarter Newsletter. Schools Go Smarter is the sustainable transport behaviour change programme for Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Durham.

Funded by the Department for Transport, with some projects funded by the Northumberland Safer Roads Initiative, we encourage pupils, parents and teachers to travel to school sustainably – like walking, cycling, using public transport and car sharing – every day.

Travelling sustainably can help make journeys healhtier, cheaper and kinder to the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.

1. School projects

We work closely with our all of the Local Authorities in our area and we commission delivery partners to deliver our projects in schools, which include:

  • Active Travel promotion – cycling and walking

  • Child Pedestrian Training

  • Public Transport Induction and Promotion: buses and Metro (in conjunction with Nexus)

  • Theatre in Education

  • Cycling Transition primary to secondary

    Bikeability and Bikeability Plus projects take place in some schools, but are not part of the Schools Go Smarter programme. They are however, very complementary to the work that we do.


2. Schools Go Smarter Teaching Resources website for teachers

For KS1 and KS2 teachers, we have a bespoke website with free resources to help you promote sustainable travel to your pupils and which are linked to the National Curriculum, to be used in teaching lessons, assemblies and classroom activities. The resources are bright, engaging and have been developed in conjunction with teachers.

Take a look at for the range of free resources that have been categorised into Literacy, PSHE, Science, Transition, Extension, and Assembly.


3. School Campaigns

This winter we are running two key campaigns for schools. Smarter Parker campaign encourages parents to park more safely around the school gates and local area, in order to help keep children safe and reduce congestion around the school. This is a popular campaign that we have run several times before. We are sending out leaflets and a covering letter to all schools in our area.

See our Smarter parker video here


The Fancy Feet Whirly Wheels Challenge is for primary schools. This is an active travel challenge to pupils and parents to encourage more sustainable travel, with stickers for the children and the opportunity for participating schools to have the chance to win one of three fabulous prizes, top prize worth £1000.

The deadline is now closed for signing up for November. However, we will be running the Challenge again next March 2017, so look out for more information.

You can view and dowload the free Challenge materials, even if you are not signed up, but only schools that have already registered for the November Challenge can take part in the competition.


4. Go Smarter to Work for school staff

Did you know, your staff can take part in the Go Smarter to Work programme. We encourage employees to travel sustainably to work each day and we can provide lots of advice, free offers and events, and support to your school as the employer.

We recognise that staff may need to drive to get to work. We have free training, such as an Eco Driving Course, that we offer to those car drivers engaged with the prgramme.

Contact us at with the subject title ‘Go Smarter to Work for Schools’ and we’ll get back to you.


5. Get in touch

We’d love to hear from you. If you have any queries about Schools Go Smarter, please contact the Go Smarter team at . For more information, you can visit our website at and please do take the time to interact with our social media at:


Schools Go Smarter news stories

6. Cycle Transition

Heworth Grange Comprehensive School has pedalled its way to glory for a second consecutive year after winning Battle of the Bikesheds.

The competition saw the Gateshead school crowned winner through encouraging pupils to get on their bikes, with the most used bike shed winning first place. The winner’s prize was an impressive bike trick show by stunt masters 3SIXTY Bicycle Stunt Team, who also gave Year 7 pupils a taster session in their art based on balance and control. 


7. Child Pedestrian Training

Schools Go Smarter’s Child Pedestrian Training is an incredibly popular project with pupils and teachers, which gives pupils in Years 3 and 4 greater confidence as pedestrians, and helps pupils learn how to make judgements and decisions about road safety.  The project has increased in popularity within Tyne and Wear over the past five years; and in 2015-16, Northumberland has also begun to offer this project to schools, boosting the overall number of pupils benefitting from the project to over 4,000 in the past academic year. The dedicated project trainers work with Year 3 or Year 4 pupils in hour-long sessions, over five or six weeks.

To find out how your school can get involved, contact our Pedestrian Training Coordinator, Zoe Jones at email ZoeJones@Gateshead.Gov.Uk or telephone 0191 433 3085.


8. Bus Induction

The summer 2016 term saw almost 1,000 pupils across Tyne and Wear enthusiastically take part in an introduction to bus travel, with the emphasis on their forthcoming new journey to secondary school. Go North East was again extremely generous in providing all buses and drivers for the thirty Bus Induction mornings, totally free of charge.

Intended to allay fears and give pupils the confidence to travel independently, attendees are taken through the basics of using the bus and how to behave. They particularly enjoyed meeting the drivers and seeing their cab from the inside. Overall, the project had excellent feedback from all involved.

Some pupil comments were:

‘’I learnt that you don’t need to be worried and that it is really easy to get the bus to and from school”

‘’Now I know where all the hidden cameras are in the bus and how to ride the bus safe and use a Pop card.”

‘’I enjoyed learning about buses and being safe’’

‘’Now I feel more confident with my journey to school’’


Our Bus Induction video can be found here:


9. Personal journey planner launched to help pupils travel independently to school

A new personal journey planner was launched for pupils just before the new school term started. Nexus, in partnership with Schools Go Smarter, introduced a one-stop-shop for planning new journeys to school, including school bus timetables, normal bus and Metro timetables, Under 16 Pop cards, as well as helpful hints and tips. All the information needed is in now in one helpful place – visit for everything pupils and families need to know.


10. Schools Go Smarter and Modeshift STARS in Northumberland  

Schools in Northumberland have been working hard to achieve their Modeshift STARS accreditation. 

Modeshift STARS is the national schools awards scheme that recognises schools that show excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel and it is supported by the Department for Transport.  Schools Go Smarter projects can help schools achieve their Stars.

Allendale Primary School and Spittal Community First School achieved their bronze awards in September; and Mickley First School, which achieved bronze last year, gained a silver award.  All three schools completed a number of sustainable travel activities to get their awards, including Bikeability training, setting up a Park and Stride, taking part in Walk on Wednesdays or Walk to School Week, and generally embedding sustainable travel into the schools’ curriculum.

Mickley First School was a runner up in the Modeshift STARS Regional Awards, as recognition for their work to reduce car use.  Since taking part in Modeshift STARS, the number of pupils travelling to school by car has reduced by 10%.


11. Schools Go Smarter Theatre in Education

Schools Go Smarter Theatre in Education hits the road with two North East tours this winter.

Why Queue? is a 40 minute high energy, interactive performance that engages and inspires Year 7 students to consider the benefits of using active sustainable ways of travelling to school each day. The performance enables young people to question what influences are all around them, empowering them to make informed, healthy life choices. Year 7 marks a big transition for young people and the performance encourages them to embrace the changes, empowering them to travel more safely to and from school.  

Josh Green Posted on Your Wall is a presentation and workshop aimed at Year 8-9 students. Focusing on pedestrian safety, the events confront and explore the common factors relating to the consequences of irresponsible pedestrian behaviour. This powerful and challenging piece of theatre, supported by a multimedia backdrop, brings to life the serious issues young people face on our roads or when using public transport. Tour dates are 7 November to 16 December 2016.

We have very limited places available - for information please contact Angela Burnett at Gateshead Council on 0191 433 3106 or contact the Theatre Booking Line direct on 0191 252 2039.


Schools Go Smarter Active Travel Cycling, summer/autumn 2016  

The 2016 summer term activities were a culmination of all the knowledge and skills that children have learnt throughout the year and include learn to ride sessions, bike skills sessions, health, nutrition, navigation and maintenance classes. We brought all these elements together and ran a series of guided bike rides, to celebrate everything that is great about cycling.


12. Learn to Ride sessions

In the summer, we worked with numerous reception and year 1 children and their parents, teaching them the skills they need to enable them to ride a bike without stabilisers.  We delivered a learn to ride session at Portobello Primary, Gateshead, which resulted in many children successfully taking to two wheels and riding independently for the first time.

Other sessions delivered focused on bike skills and increased confidence, with techniques including braking, balance, cornering and gears selection, We uses games that taught skills in a fun and safe environment to increase confidence and ability.


13. Challenge Rides

With a number of schools we have taken our local rides a step further and progressed onto inspiring children to undertake a challenge ride. A Challenge Ride is one of greater difficulty and distance and may be a single full day ride or a multi-day excursion outside the region such as the Coast to Coast ride from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.