Dundee celebrates as school cycling programme wins at Scottish Transport Awards
29 June 2023
The award, which recognised Best Practice in Travel to School and Work Schemes, was awarded to Active Travel Dundee (Schools), supported by Cycling Scotland, for Bikeability Scotland cycle training.
Pictured: Scottish Transport Awards 2023 - Grant Stott (Host), Nina Saunders (Cycling Scotland), Billy Thomson (Ancrum Outdoor Centre) and Ralph Roberts (McGill's Buses).
Over the last school year, Dundee became the sixth local authority in the country to deliver Bikeability Scotland training to all of their primary schools, with nearly 3,000 pupils having the opportunity to develop this essential skill for life.
From an average of just 12% of schools between 2010 and 2016, and despite the disruption of the pandemic, Bikeability Scotland training took place at all 33 primary schools for the first time in 2021/22, and it’s this dramatic transformation and the teamwork that made it happen, that was celebrated at the awards ceremony last week in Glasgow.
Billy Thomson, Active Travel Co-ordinator attended the award ceremony alongside Nina Saunders from Cycling Scotland. He took the time to reflect on what lay behind this recognition, “I am very proud of the award and would like to thank the co-ordinators before me for laying the groundwork for this success. We have a fantastic group of instructors here at the Active Travel team and a lot of the plaudits must go to them for their delivery and professionalism.”
There were of a number of factors that made the transformation possible including Ancrum Outdoor Centre becoming responsible for coordination and annual grant funding support provided by Cycling Scotland.
Working with Cycling Scotland, the Active Travel (Schools) team at Ancrum, now provides a full package of support for curricular-based cycle training to Dundee schools, including school engagement and road safety information, as well as access to instructors, bikes, and bike maintenance.
Ben Clark, Principal Teacher at Eastern Primary in Broughty Ferry said, “As well as offering Bikeability sessions, the Ancrum team met regularly with our active travel group, listening to pupils’ voices and helping them promote active travel to school”.
Bikeability Scotland Level 2 on road training encourages young people to make more short journeys by bike by teaching essential skills such as effective signalling, making good observations and correct road positioning.
We spoke to pupils at Eastern Primary, about the training and how it has changed their relationship with bikes and cycling.
Active travel to school is a collective responsibility and by strengthening existing partnerships with and between local primary schools, Dundee Council’s Bikeability Scotland programme is an example of what is possible.
In total, four Cycling Scotland programmes were shortlisted for the 2023 Scottish Transport Awards. You can learn more about them here.