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Crawley school becomes first in town to win gold award

The school achieved the bronze award in 2015, the silver in 2016 and has now been awarded gold.

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The School Mark award helps pave the way for schools to grow a culture of active travel by encouraging pupils to cycle, walk and scoot.

An awards assembly was held on 17 October at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Primary to celebrate the first school in Crawley to achieve the Sustrans Gold School Mark award, an initiative of Crawley Borough Council and Sustrans, the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle.

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In attendance was the Mayor of Crawley, two local councillors and Sustrans staff.

The school has achieved the bronze award in 2015 and the silver in 2016. This fantastic achievement was made possible through the commitment of the school head teacher, Mr Melia, and the school Bike It champion, Mrs De Lange.

Working together with a dedicated Sustrans Bike It officer the school has gathered a wealth of evidence that is required to achieve this challenging award. This includes showing that, since working with Sustrans in 2011, the percentage of pupils arriving at school by car has dropped by nine per cent. Those arriving to school by cycling, walking or scooting has risen by six per cent. This is impressive considering over a third of the school come from outside the catchment area.

Work towards the award is structured so that children are empowered to make the decision to cycle, scoot or walk to school and enjoy the benefits associated with it. This includes a variety of educational and fun events such as monthly Bike It Breakfasts, bike skills workshops as well as a genuine commitment from the school to promoting cycling, scooting and walking both within the school policy and the wider community.

Celebrations continued after the awards assembly with a delivery officer Bike It Pat conducting a Dr Bike safety inspection of bikes at school and a static bike challenge where 3.3 miles were sprinted out by a group of year 6 children during break time. A year 6 boy achieved the fastest speed of 32 mph and won himself a bike computer.

The school has further planned a BMX fun day and also a bicycle decoration day highlighting the importance of High Visibility in conjunction with Diwali and Fireworks.

Mayor Carlos Castro said:“There is clearly a desire from people in the local community who want to choose to walk and cycle more and programmes like this one which encourage families to travel more actively can really help.”

Cllr Geraint Thomas, said: “The School Mark program is an exciting initiative to help improve the environment outside of schools as well as encouraging families to walk, cycle or scoot to school. Initiatives like this benefit the community as a whole.”

Cllr Peter Smith said: “It’s encouraging that there was such a positive response from everyone at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Primary. They have worked hard but had a lot of fun too and this award is well deserved.”

The School Mark is the Sustrans active travel award awarded by Sustrans guiding schools to excellence to active travel.

The Bike It Programme is delivered by Sustrans and is funded through the Crawley Borough Council. The programme has been delivered in Crawley since 2011 and has currently working with 17 schools across the borough.

More info on the Sustrans Bike It programme can be found here.

Education

Crawley College 60th anniversary celebrations continue

On Tuesday 13th November, VIP guests, teachers, governors and business leaders attended a celebratory meal at Crawley College as part of a year of celebrations to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the college.

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The college was delighted that several family members of the college’s original principal – Theodore Siklos, were able to attend.

Professor Siklos’ sons Stephen and Paul gave a fascinating profile of their father’s journey from Budapest, where he spoke Hungarian and German, via the University of Brno, now in the Czech Republic, to Wimbledon Technical College and then finally to Crawley where he oversaw the building of the college from nothing more than a building site.

They spoke warmly about their father’s time at the college and brought to life the total transformation that the engineering department has gone through – from an annex on Robinson Road with a single, temperamental computer, to the Advanced Technology Centre which features the latest industry-standard equipment for renewable and sustainable technologies.

Engineering continues to be one of the foundation subjects of the college – no doubt as part of Professor Siklos’s legacy.

The evening started with a drinks reception in the college’s Advanced Technology Centre, and a tour of the college’s engineering facilities, before a delicious meal was served in the college’s newly refurbished restaurant.

The college’s hospitality students designed and created a three-course dinner, based on the original menu served in 1986 when the Siklos building opened. Guests were treated to Waldorf salad, lamb loin, vegetable Wellington and chocolate orange choux pastry for dessert.

Vicki Illingworth, College Principal, commented:

“it was fantastic to see the restaurant buzzing and the students served up really excellent food. Our guests were very complementary about the evening and the journey they could see the college is on – we are very proud that the hard work we are doing is making a difference!”

58 Café Bar and Restaurant is open to the public from Monday to Friday in term time, serving barista-made coffee and homemade cakes all day, as well as a three course express lunch on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Meals are cooked and served by the college’s hospitality students under the expert supervision of our chef-lecturers.

For more information about any aspect of the college, please visit www.crawley.ac.uk

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