Ireland’s newly crowned Travel School of the Year launched next week’s National Walk to School week on Wednesday, May 10. Scoil Ghobnatan from Mallow were at the Green-Schools Travel Awards in Kilmainham ahead of this year’s celebration of active and sustainable travel on the school run.

Taking place from Monday, May 15th to Friday, May 19th Green-Schools’ National Walk to School Week is a country-wide initiative which will see thousands of students, their parents and teachers walking to and from school, to celebrate the environmental, health, social and financial benefits of active travel.

This year, Green-Schools’ focus has been to help schools advocate for lower speed limits outside their gates, ideally 30 kilometres per hour. As part of the programme’s work with participating schools, Green-Schools staff conduct walkability and cycleability audits and report the findings to local authorities. These often result in infrastructural improvements (small, medium and large scale!) that allow the students to walk, cycle or scoot to school with a greater degree of safety. Green-Schools is also calling on other road users to be vigilant and adhere to existing speed limits outside schools next week and throughout the academic year.

National WOW Day!

This Walk to School Week we want to empower schools to make the changes necessary to ensure that the journey to school is not only green but active and safe. Building on the success of last year’s National Walk to School Week, Green-Schools hope that schools will help surpass 20,000 people walking to school all over Ireland on National WOW (Walk On Wednesday) Day on May 17th. The week will also be an opportunity for schools to try other modes of travel including: cycling, scooting, Park ‘n’ Stride, carpooling and travelling by bus.

Jane Hackett is the National Manager of the Green-Schools Travel programme: “We’re here to celebrate the achievements of schools like Scoil Ghobnatan and launch our favourite time of year: Walk to School Week. We want next week to be a celebration like today: a celebration of the change that happens when people – students, teachers and parents in this case – come together and decide to try something new, like leaving the car at home and walking to school. We hope that by the end of next week they’ll discover, with us, the many benefits of an active start to the school day.”

Big Travel Challenge

Scoil Ghobnatan were the overall winners at this year’s Green-Schools Travel Awards. The school won in the Walking category following their entry into the Big Travel Challenge competition, run by Green-Schools in schools that are currently working on, or have completed, the Travel theme of the Green-Schools programme. The school started working on the theme with 58% of students arriving by car and have used mapping exercises, class incentives and participating in the Travel theme to reduce this figure significantly.

At the Travel awards today eight schools from Cork, Galway, Limerick, Clare, Meath, Dublin, and Carlow were recognised for their efforts promoting walking, cycling, scooting and car pooling as alternatives to car travel on the journey to and from school.

Winning schools:

  • Walking: Scoil Ghobnatan (primary), Bellevue, Mallow, Cork
  • Walking: Bushypark NS (primary) Circular Rd, Bushy Park, Galway City
  • Walking: Coláiste Nano Nagle (secondary), Sexton St, Limerick
  • Cycling: St. Aidans NS (primary), Smithstown, Shannon, Clare
  • Cycling: St. Paul’s NS (primary), Ratoath, Co. Meath
  • Scooting: St Francis of Assisi (primary), Belmayne, Balgriffin, Dublin 13
  • Park n Stride: Killeshin NS (primary), Killeshin,   Laois/Carlow
  • Carpooling: Ballinora NS (primary), Waterfall, Cork