“I think every school in Hull should be looking to use Modeshift STARS as a tool to help them develop more physically active students and reap the benefits that come with it. Active children are more effective learners with evidence showing that sedentary lifestyles can have a detrimental impact on effective learning behaviours. Being active before lessons through active travel can have a positive effect on concentration, cognition, and engagement in learning.”
School Games Organiser
The Modeshift STARS Hull programme is beginning to take off with nearly ten schools being signed up now. However, Sirius Academy West presents a new kind of challenge for us as an organisation. The school is larger than any we have dealt with before. It is populated with 1538 pupils split into approximately 300 each per year group.
They pride themselves on having a strong history of providing extensive school sport and physical activity. Both for their own students, and hosting as a site. With facilities to back this up, they have a six-court badminton sports hall, dance studio, Astroturf, multi games use area, and grass pitches. All of which have been used to offer coaching and leadership opportunities for students.
Sirius Academy West were first interested in the Modeshift programme primarily to improve the active travel levels amongst their pupils. The senior leadership team of the school already had aims and objectives that aligned with this part of the Modeshift programme. With over 200 cars dropping children off at the school and picking them up each day, it is obvious where the challenge here would be. There are already many students walking and cycling each day; however, there is always room for improvement.
School Games Organiser Alex mentioned that the school is also experiencing an imbalance of male and female pupils who use a form of active travel. One of the main problems for the school to tackle is how to get more girls comfortable using these methods of sustainable travel such as walking or cycling.
Modeshift began facing some of the challenges Sirius Academy West were up against by introducing some initiatives for the school to follow. These were decided between our Modeshift Coordinator Oliver, and the school themselves. These are put in place to help the school achieve its aims and objectives of becoming an active and sustainable school for travel.
Due to the size of the school, it is important that Modeshift bring something for everyone to get involved in, and that includes staff, parents, and pupils. The initiatives were easy to set up, and efficient communication with parents is something the school prides itself in and would help Modeshift start up smoothly.
Sirius have been involved in various initiatives so far. Some examples of these are the Sustrans Big Pedal 2021, Clean Air Day, Bike to School Week, Bikeability Sessions, Student Pledge Programme and Road Safety Humber presenting in assembly. All of these have had a positive effect on the school and have greatly helped start the school in its mission to be more active and sustainable.
Overall, the school has thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the Modeshift Stars Hull programme so far, and they are already well on their way to achieving the bronze award. They specifically found the Clean Air Day to be a rewarding initiative, with it having a profound effect on both teachers and pupils. This was done through the promotion of active travel, and a takeover of science lessons to explain the importance of sustainability.
The Sustrans Big Pedal 2021 event was a highlight, and even the staff got involved by documenting their daily cycle to school by video recordings. As a result, the children in the school are now so passionate about the Modeshift programme, they have even formed a ‘Green Team’. This will focus on the wider sustainability issues within the school and even around the local community.