Travelling to and from school

Getting to and from school is a big part of the day, and can have a real impact on attendance and student wellbeing. It is important to us that our students are safe and happy, and that they have a good journey to and from school each day. Please find below some information on travelling to and from Todmorden High School.

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How do you get here?

Walking to school

Walking is a great way to get to school – it’s healthy, free and doesn’t create pollution. It also reduces traffic congestion during the ‘school run’.

Walking to school also gives older children independence. Once they know their route and can cross roads safely, they can walk by themselves or with friends.

But younger children need to be accompanied by an adult, especially if there are busy roads. If you can’t walk your child to school they might be able to join a ‘walking bus‘. This is when a group of children walk to school with at least two adults. Even if you can walk your child to school, a walking bus enables you to share the responsibility with other parents and frees up a bit of extra time.

If you would like to see a walking bus in your area, talk to other parents and staff at your children’s school to see if you could set one up together.

Cycling to school

Cycling is another great way to get to school. However, young people aged between 11 and 15 are more likely to be killed or injured on the roads than any other group, so they need to be aware of the dangers.

If your child cycles to school, make sure their bike is in good working order, and that they wear a helmet and reflective jacket. Work out the best route, with the least traffic.

Find out about cycle training, which should be provided free by your local authority. Ask your child’s school for details.

Driving to school

If walking or cycling aren’t possible, there are several ways of getting to school by road:

  • public transport
  • school buses
  • car-sharing
  • family car

Driving your child to school with empty seats in your car is the least environmentally-friendly way to get them to school. However, it’s still the way many kids get to school, especially while they’re at primary. If this is your situation, it’s worth taking some time to see if you could organise it any other way, at least on some days.

Your child may be eligible for free school transport. Your child will qualify automatically if they are aged between five and 16 and attend the nearest suitable school, and the school is further away than the ‘statutory walking distance’ (two miles away for children aged seven and under; three miles away for those aged eight and over).

Help may still be available for children who don’t qualify automatically, for example, if they are from low-income families or if they have special educational needs or disabilities. To find out more, it’s best to check with your local authority. The website www.direct.gov.uk is also very informative.

Travel tips for secondary pupils

  • Practise your child’s journey with them before they start secondary school.
  • Choose busy times, not in the middle of the day.
  • Make sure your child is aware of potential danger points – looking carefully before crossing busy roads, taking extra care at bus stops and getting on and off trains.
  • Make sure your child keeps their possessions safe, eg mobile phones, keys and money.
  • Talk with your child about what they would do if something unexpected happened, eg if there was a security alert on their train and passengers were asked to leave the train.
  • Talk with your child about what they should do if they felt threatened, eg if they felt an adult was following them or behaving oddly on public transport.

Useful links

Road Safety

It is very important that our students behave safely on their way to school, and know the basic rules of road safety.

  • Stop
  • Look
  • Listen

We have a safe crossing on Burnley Road outside school and a member of staff is always on duty there before and after school. We encourage students to use this crossing, as Ewood Lane does not have a crossing, and can be a busy road at peak times. We also have Centre Vale Park on our doorstep, which provides a safe means of travel for our pedestrians.

Are you cycling to school?

Cycling is a great form of exercise and a fantastic mode of transport. We have a bike storage shed on school grounds where students can store their bike during the day, but they must bring a bike lock with them to store it safely (this is locked by the caretakers also). Please find some guidance below on safe biking.

Is the size right? A bike that is too big or too small is dangerous. Don’t be tempted to go for a bike that your child will ‘grow into’. Most bikes can be adjusted to allow for growth, so make sure that your child can sit comfortably on it with the seat at its lowest setting. To begin with, the balls of their feet should just touch the ground, and they should be able to turn the handlebars, brake and change gear without over-stretching.

As a rough guide, 20″ wheels are on bikes for 5-8 year olds; 24″ wheels are usually recommended for 9-11 year olds; and 26″ wheels are suitable for those 11 and over, but the main thing is that the bike fits your child. When your child gains in confidence you can raise the saddle in increments, until the seated child has to reach the ground on tip-toes. Such a seating height leads to a more efficient riding position.

Does the bike meet legal standards? Your child’s bike should conform to British safety standard BS6102/1 and be marked accordingly. It should have two separate braking systems, front and back.

What type should we get? The array of types and styles can be confusing. Be clear about exactly what your child will use his or her bike for, then ask the bike shop or dealer for advice. If the bike doesn’t come fitted with mudguards – most don’t – have the dealer fit them. Consider fitting dynamo lights so you’re not so reliant on batteries.

Cycle helmets: We strongly advise that you do not allow your child to ride to school without wearing a safety helmet. Don’t be influenced by helmets that feature cartoon characters; buy for safety and ventilation, not just looks. Helmets should always be bought new and should conform to one of the following safety standards: BS6863, AS2063.86, ANSIZ90.4, SNELL B90 or B95.

It is essential that your child’s helmet fits properly:

  • It must not interfere their ability to see and hear clearly
  • It should be positioned squarely on their head, sitting just above their eyebrows (not pushed back or forwards)
  • The straps should be securely fastened and not twisted, with enough room for two of fingers to be inserted between chin and strap
  • It should feel comfortable. It must be cycle-specific.

Here some key steps to getting ready for cycling to school:

  • Get road-savvy. Training plays an important part in ensuring children have the confidence and skills to cycle safely. Bikeability is the National Standard for cycle training and was developed to equip children to deal with traffic conditions on the road and we run courses in school.
  • Lead the way. If you’re a parent, teacher, governor or pupil and want to get a safe route to your school, visit http://www.saferoutestoschools.org.uk for lots of information on how to get started.
  • Plan the route. For interactive online mapping to help plan your route and work out which are the quietest roads or best cycle paths use the Bike Hub smartphone apps (iPhone & Android) or use this online route planner.
  • Road worthy. Make sure your child’s bike is ready to roll.

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