A small, rural school on the County Antrim coast has beaten off stiff competition to come third in Northern Ireland and pedalled its way into the Top 10 in the whole of the UK in this year’s Big Pedal – the biggest annual inter-school cycling and scooting competition run by environmental charity Sustrans.
Kids from St Ciaran’s Primary School, in Cushendun pedalled and scooted their hearts out to come third in Northern Ireland and gained overall ninth place in the UK. They achieved an impressive 94% of pupils cycling and scooting to school. This is the second year St Ciaran’s has been in the UK Top 20.
A record number of schools from across Northern Ireland took part in the competition with four schools wheeling their way into the Top 20 across the UK. Pupils, staff and teachers at 114 schools in Northern Ireland cycled more than 127,000 miles, equivalent to an incredible five trips around the world. This saved almost 80,000 car journeys and over two and a half million balloons of C02 emissions.
Helen Magee, Acting Principal at St Ciaran’s said: “Last year our school finished in the Top 20 in the UK, and this year we made it into the Top 10. We are really delighted about this. The children and parents made a massive effort throughout the two weeks of the competition, and we are very proud of them. The Active School Travel programme has been a key focus for our school over the past two years; the children have been learning about the positive benefits of active travel, and this has inspired them to such wonderful efforts for the Big Pedal. Perhaps next year we can hit the Top 5!”
The school has been working with Sustrans as part of the Active School Travel programme, funded jointly by the Public Health Agency and former Department for Regional Development.
Another small, rural school Killylea Primary School, in Co Armagh came first in Northern Ireland and were just pipped into second place in the whole of the UK. Pedalling and scooting on Killylea’s heels were St Kieran’s Primary in Poleglass, west Belfast which came in second place (sixth in the UK) with 96% of pupils cycling and scooting to school.
Beth Harding, Sustrans Active Travel Coordinator, said: “We’re really delighted that more than 100 schools took part from Northern Ireland this year and really excelled and enjoyed the challenge.
“Hopefully we’ll see children continuing in the Big Pedal spirit by cycling and scooting to school throughout the rest of this school term!”
Across the UK the Big Pedal saw pupils, staff and families cycle or scoot in total an incredible 3 million miles, saving £384,000 in fuel not used for the school run.