Quality statement 5: Schools and early years settings

Quality statement

Schools and early years settings have active travel plans that are monitored and updated annually.

Rationale

Active travel to and from schools and early years settings is the easiest form of physical activity that can be incorporated into everyday life for children and young people. It can also potentially follow into adulthood. Developing travel plans that are aligned with other local authority plans and monitored and updated annually to increase active travel should reduce the barriers and increase the incentives to actively travel. This will result in positive health outcomes for the child such as improved mental and physical health.

Physical activity during the school day is addressed in NICE's quality standard on school-based interventions: physical and mental health and wellbeing promotion.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence that schools and early years settings have travel plans that include performance targets to increase active travel.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, an audit of policies in schools and early years settings.

b) Evidence that schools and early years settings monitor and update their travel plans annually to ensure these continue to be fully aligned with other local authority plans.

Data source: Local data collection, for example, an audit of policies in schools and early years settings.

Outcome

Percentage of children's travel to and from schools and early years settings that is active.

Data source: National and local data on children's active travel to and from school is available from Department for Transport's National Travel Survey: Travel to School and Sport England's Active Lives Children and Young People survey.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Local authorities ensure that they support schools and early years settings to develop active travel plans and continue to be fully aligned on an annual basis with other local authority plans. This includes local area agreements, local area play strategies and healthy school plans.

Schools and early years settings (such as school travel plan advisers, governors, parents, carers and pupils) develop, monitor and update their travel plans annually, including specific performance targets to increase active travel. If needed, new initiatives should be included in the plans to further support active travel. For example, mapping safe routes to school, organising activities such as walk and bike to school days, walking buses, organising cycle and road safety training, and helping children to be 'streetwise'.

Infants, children and young people are supported and motivated to actively travel (for example on foot, by bike or by scooter) to their schools and early years settings. Through these plans parents and carers should also be encouraged to allow their children to become more independent, by gradually allowing them to walk, cycle or use another physically active mode of travel for short distances.

Source guidance

Definition of terms used in this quality statement

Schools and early years setting active travel plans

A written document detailing a package of measures to support active travel, improve safety and reduce car use. This is backed by a partnership involving the school, education and local authority transport officers, the police and the health authority. It is based on consultation with teachers, parents, pupils and governors and other local people.

It must include information about the school, a description and analysis of journeys made and the associated problems, a survey of pupils' current and preferred mode of travel, consultation findings, clearly defined targets and objectives, details of proposed measures and a timetable for implementation, clearly defined responsibilities and proposals for monitoring and review.

[Adapted from NICE's guideline on physical activity for children and young people, glossary and the Department of Education's home-to-school travel and transport statutory guidance]

Equality and diversity considerations

Schools and early years settings should ensure that active travel plans include accessibility considerations for infants, children and young people with limited mobility or disabilities including sensory, visual or learning disabilities.