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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

Meet the new head of Thomas Bennett Community College

After a turbulent year the school welcomes their new head teacher.

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Mr Smith is extremely proud to have been appointed as the new permanent Head Teacher of Thomas Bennett Community College in Crawley. 

In particular, Mr Smith is excited to be working with both students and parents in the coming months and serving the community to provide an excellent education.

A highly experienced and inspiration leader, Mr Smith joins Thomas Bennett from Hastings, where he was the Principal for two secondary schools.

Mr Smith says

“my key philosophy has always been to do what’s best for the students, raising their aspirations and giving them the tools to be successful”.

Sharing the governing body’s visionary outlook, strong values and sense of community Mr Smith will further strengthen the schools excellence within a nurturing and student focused environment.

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