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STHC Client Testimonials

The section lists testimonials and words of praise from clients and fans of the School Health Check Service...

The 2009 annual report of the Chief Medical Officer comments on the STHC:

“This innovative sustainable development initiative aims to provide robust data that will allow schools, planners and individuals to develop more sustainable school travel options”

“Active travel to school is an important source of physical activity for young people. It could be increased further. These statistics provide a useful baseline against which to measure progress, and should be used in conjunction with a qualitative assessment of local authority and school travel policies”

Download the full document from the Department of Health website here.

In June 2009 the Sustainable Development Commission and the Department For Children, Schools & Families jointly published their consultation document “Towards A School Carbon Management Plan”: In Section D covering Reducing emissions from school travel and transport, Dorset County Councils use of the STHC is the only example cited of the best use of existing data to inform individual schools of their performance and to identify actions.
To quote:-

“School Travel Plans are only as good as the data on which they are developed. Establishing better quality data sources to underpin School Travel Plans could help schools and School Travel Advisors to target their activities more effectively.

It could also provide a basis for more consistent monitoring (for example, establishing a consistent method of measuring the impact of schemes, benchmarking of activities and comparison of schools and local authorities).

Improved school travel data can also link into local authority work on National Indicator 186 (Per Capita Carbon Emissions in the local authority area). In particular, it can help local authorities to better understand the impact of school travel and the opportunities for interventions.

Existing data sources can be better used (as evidenced by the Dorset County Council [STHC] case study). It is important that Regional and Local School Travel Advisers understand the data that is available to them and how it can be used and interpreted. Existing data can also be used to inform individual schools of their performance and to identify actions.”

Download the full document from the Sustainable Development Commission website here.

“The connection between physical activity and good health is very clear. Children in particular need to get back to the levels of walking and cycling that prevailed in their parents’ time if we are to reduce the risk of obesity. The School Travel Health Check is, in my opinion, an invaluable tool for all those interested in improving the health and wellbeing of children. It provides such crucial information that I don't see how we can do without it.

If we want to get rates of cycling and walking up to the levels of the best European communities we need to use this data to make sure our transport plans will make that happen. If we fail to take maximum advantage of this opportunity we may fail our children.”

Dr Gabriel Scally - Regional Director of Public Health for the South West
The Regional Public Health Observatory network exists to improve the health of the population in their region through the collection, monitoring and analysis of data, to produce evidence that will inform decision-making on health issues at local, regional and national levels. In the SW, where the STHC has been going longest, the Regional School Travel Advisor has supplied LEA and regional level STHC analysis data to the SWPHO, who use it in their support of the “Healthy Schools” initiative. The data is published as part of their “Instant Atlas™ Mapping Tool to support Healthy Schools Plus” page on their website.

“I can say from experience that trying to do this work in-house, although theoretically possible, is in reality difficult, time consuming and costly. By using the STHC and packs for the schools we have saved months of work and achieved a better output.”
Albert Ward – School Travel Plan Team leader, Somerset County Council
Somerset was the authority in which the STHC was first developed way back in 2003-04, when mode of travel data was collected from each individual school! Albert has been involved since the beginning.

“Just to acknowledge receipt [of the final STHC data pack] - Our sustainable school travel forum is most impressed with you work - Brilliant!”
Phil Cornsih - School Travel Awareness Officer, Torbay Council
Torbay have commissioned the STHC since 2007-08, and have been distributing our STHC Packs to schools since 2008-09.

“The School Travel Health Check process provides the essential foundations for development and delivery of Sustainable Modes Of Travel Strategies. The STHC also frees officer time to do the important work of delivering change”
Emma Sheridan – Former Regional School Travel Adviser for London and Modeshift Chair
Modeshift is the central forum supporting those who are working to achieve shift towards more sustainable and active travel for young people and school communities in the UK.

“The savings in cost and time that the STHC and the packs for schools bring is considerable. It has freed my time to use the STHC output to work toward the strategic change that the STHC identifies.”
Ian Selby - School Travel Plans and SMOTS, Bournemouth Borough Council
Bournemouth first commissioned the STHC analysis for their 2007-08 school census data and so are part of the core of SW authorities that has contributed to its rapid development over the last year. They also commissioned STHC Paper Packs for the first time for 2008-09.

“This work is a rarity, a product from a small consultancy that is motivated by a desire to achieve change and not just to make money. The output is excellent and does help to achieve change. Better still it comes at a very modest price that we cannot match in-house”
Kevin Speakman - School Travel Plans and SMOTS North Somerset
North Somerset also first commissioned the STHC analysis for their 2007-08 school census data but have also taken the STHC Paper Packs for all their schools from the start.

“Thanks for getting the data to us for our use to establish a priority list for our safer routes to school and for targeting schools for further action.”...

“We've been really impressed with the STHC here in Sandwell. We have most of our schools with travel plans already, so this information will be invaluable for us to take the Travelling to School Initiative to the next level by actually achieving mode shift! Hopefully being able to easily target schools with the biggest potential for mode shift we should be able to get some real results.”

Fleur Tooby – School Travel Adviser, Sandwell MBC
Sandwell were the first authority in the West Midlands region to commission the STHC in 2008-09, where it is being used very effectively at a day-to-day operational level.

“The School Travel Health Check has provided an effective and powerful means of engaging with both schools and officers within the council. The dual aspect of health and environmental impact of the school journey has enabled the team to ensure that links are made to work in school, policy decisions and cross department priorities. The STHC is proving an ideal way to re-engage with schools to help monitor and review their travel plans, without asking them to undertake additional workloads. By showing schools that the STHC is complimentary to existing work within schools we hope to continue to address unnecessary car use and raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable travel.”
Sharon Payne – East of England Regional School Travel Adviser (DCSF & DfT) & Sustainable School Travel Strategy Officer for Suffolk County Council
Suffolk County Council commissioned the STHC analysis data for their 2008-09 school census data. They also commissioned us to produce our STHC Paper Packs on a pilot basis for a selected number of schools. As these were successfully received the plan is to roll them out to all (344) Suffolk LEA-controlled schools next year, as well use them as the foundation for formal lessons plans being drawn up for various Key Stages in different areas of the curriculum.

“It was extremely informative to go through the range of [STHC] analysis for the schools in South East Dorset. It provided a lot of 'food for thought' for us in the development of the transport strategies for the South East Dorset area to 2026.”

“We have had to prepare the transport model from scratch and have therefore been involved in an extensive and expensive data collection programme in order to assemble a comprehensive picture of travel patterns and behaviour across South East Dorset. We were therefore delighted to learn about the journey to school data which provided a fully observed picture of travel to school by the variety of modes. The journey to school data was particularly useful in filling in gaps in the travel demand matrices for journeys by private car and public transport. The level of detail and the comprehensive nature of the data meant that it was an ideal basis to supplement the other sources of data.”

“The Journey to school data was vital for us to be able to fill in the gaps between the different roadside interview sites. In other studies we have had to make simplifying assumptions about travel between the interview sites; to be able to use the Journey to School database was a real bonus for us.”
Robert Thompson - Business Manager Policy and Plans Atkins Transport Planning
STHC data was supplied to Atkins, who were commissioned by Dorset County Council to undertake the South East Dorset Multi Modal Study (underpins LTP3 and MAA).

“The STHC processing has provided an excellent means of opening doors within my authority, particularly in to the growing carbon and health agendas”
Stacey Olver - School Travel Adviser, Plymouth City Council
Plymouth have commissioned the STHC every year since 2007-08.

In October 2009 eleven LEA run schools in Dorset received our STHC School Packs for the very first time. Here is some of the feedback received by the Dorset County Council Sustainable Travel Coordinator...
“I have just received our map / aerial photo and information. I just wanted to say that this is a brilliant piece of work by you, and is extremely helpful to me. Many thanks, and keep up the good work!”
Trevor Jameson – Headteacher, St. George's Primary School, Portland

“Great to have some measurable targets / data to use to set future targets and develop the travel plan. Fantastic maps”
Heyeswood First School, Dorset

“Fascinating detailed information, well displayed, very visual. Will use alongside STP at next review”
St Josephs School, Christchurch