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Posted on Thu 09 Feb 2017

Schools all aboard for ‘smart moves’ in 2-week travel challenge -Translink and Eco-Schools encourage pupils to adopt more active travel patterns

With spring just around the corner, and a stretch in the days, schools across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to participate in the Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge to cut down on car congestion at school gates and help boost pupil health and wellbeing.

 The 2 week Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge promotes walking, cycling, bus and train travel for the school run instead of car use. It incorporates curriculum-linked resources and encourages schools to develop sustainable travel plans as a way to achieve the internationally recognised Eco-Schools Green Flag Award. 43 schools have already come on board for this year’s Challenge.

Translink’s Ursula Henderson says, “The initiative is a fun way to educate young people about environmental, safety, health and cost benefits of ‘active travel’ modes:


“More and more schools are taking up the Translink Eco-Schools Travel Challenge and making ‘smart moves’ for the journey to school. Last year, 36 schools successfully completed the challenge recording more than 13,427 sustainable journeys. There was a real shift away from car use; 60% of the journeys made during the Challenge were sustainable compared to 41% beforehand.

“We want to build on this success and attract even more challenge participants in 2016/17. We’re encouraging schools to visit www.translink.co.uk/ecoschools/ to download a range of engaging Key Stage 1 – 3 travel challenge classroom resources and get started!

“We also want to highlight the positive health benefits of active travel modes. Independent research shows that people who use sustainable transport for the journey to and from work have a significantly lower BMI and are happier than those who use private transport.

 “As well as helping their school achieve the Green Flag Award, the top performing classes and pupils in this year’s challenge will receive travel prizes at a special award ceremony during Bus + Train Week in June. Schools are also being encouraged to submit a #Smartmovers project that demonstrates all the innovative ways pupils have tackled the travel challenge,” said Ursula.

Ruth Van Ry, Eco-Schools Coordinator, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said:

“We are delighted to be supported by Translink in the Eco-Schools ‘Transport’ topic and to be promoting this great Travel Challenge again. This initiative has wide benefits and also connects with the Eco-Schools topics ‘Healthy Living’ and ‘Climate Change’. With so many environmental challenges facing us globally, this is an easy and enjoyable way to make a positive difference. We would ask teachers and parents to support our young enthusiasts in completing this challenge, make a tangible difference to congestion around schools, and get some fresh air in the process!”

For further information click www.translink.co.uk/ecoschools/ or email ruth.vanry@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

Posted on Tue 13 Dec 2016

International School Grounds Activity Guide

This guide, from the International School Grounds Alliance, is the result of collaboration of 37 organisations from 17 countries.

There are 50 ideas in this guide which you might want to use to get started outdoors or perhaps they'll inspire you to come up with your own unique adventures! People are starting to realise the benefits of learning and being outside so why not see how your school can get involved.

Visit the International School Grounds Alliance website for more examples from previous years or to submit your own activities.

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International School Grounds Activity Guide

Posted on Mon 03 Oct 2016

Schools Bag Big Prizes with Cash for Clobber

Schools across the country are taking part in the ‘Cash for Clobber’ competition run in partnership with Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, Eco-Schools and Cookstown Textile Recyclers. This great method of being environmentally friendly by recycling also raises some welcome funds for the schools taking part.

Last year 235 schools took part and collected a whopping 275 tonnes of clothing. If every school in NI took part an amazing 1163 tonnes of clothing could be diverted from landfill to be reused or recycled. Not only is this great for the environment but the schools also receive 40 pence per kilo of clothing collected, raising valuable funds for their school projects.

Schools which collect the most textiles per pupil are in with the chance to win the annual ‘Cash for Clobber’ competition with fantastic prizes of up to £1,500. The closing date for the competition this year is 30th June 2017.

Last year Orangefield Primary School, Belfast, were overjoyed to win the top prize in the large primary section.  St Scire’s Primary School, Trillick, won in the medium schools section and The Magic Roundabout Playgroup, Sixmilecross, won in the small schools section.

Cookstown Textile Recyclers are the only BSI certified clothing recycling company that Eco-Schools recommends. Clothing collected is redistributed to developing countries around the world or recycled into industrial fibers.

Schools who would like to get involved are asked to call the Cash for Clobber Team on 028 9447 9380 or visit Cash for Clobber.