Meet Paul White, Travel Plan Co-ordinator from the award winning Woodville Primary School in Essex

We caught up with Paul White, Travel Plan Coordinator (TPC)  at Woodville Primary School, Essex to find out more about his role and what the school how their plans  to keep staff, parents and students engaged with their active travel initiatives

How long have you been involved with Modeshift and as a travel plan coordinator? 

I started at Woodville in Sept 21 after a move from another school. Already had a Senior Teacher was leading on Modeshift activities who lead until Easter 22.  Previously I worked in Havering and was the travel plan coordinator at that school and had done that for three years, so when the role became available no one else volunteered so I took it over.  

What motivates you as a Travel Plan Coordinator?  

A personal passion and interest.   In my new school it was a chance to use the skills I already had and for me as a keen cyclist and being interested in green issues, Travel Plan was an opportunity to make a difference and wasn’t a burden.  I think that the activities in the Travel Plan were things that we could and should be doing to benefit the whole school.    

What happens in the role?  

As the Deputy Head Teacher I am in charge of timetabling and I plan ahead for things that could be linked to the Travel Plan.  I tend to prompt teachers to take photos and notes of the activities so that I can add them to the travel plan later.  And lots of things go in the weekly newsletter about what we are doing and I ask others to write a quick blurb about the activity, I always make it simple and show the results with things like celebration assemblies. 

Nick Hill from Essex Local Authority offers support to Paul White and they have a good working relationship where the school will trial new initiatives, ideas and projects that come up.   

Who helps you to deliver the Travel Plan?  How do we encourage other members of the school to be more engaged in Travel Plans and sustainable and active modes of travel? 

The key is to find people with a similar interest or passion about these kind of issues and the environment. It makes a huge difference and really engages the children.  To be successful you need the right people to support the Travel Plan Coordinator so it’s not seen as a chore, rather that it’s a positive thing.   We already have Eco Schools so our ethos in school is already very positive and the Modeshift Travel Plan fits in with this.  

What advice would you give to help recruit new Travel Plan Coordinators?  

Reach out to someone who has an interest in travel/green/cycling issues etc. If they already have a passion about working with kids and the community as most teachers do, then they are the best person to be involved in this and they can sell it to the wider community especially as they can make an impact on something that is real and happening i.e. congestion at the school gates. Find someone who wants to make a difference, there should be at least one person in school whose values align with this.   

A top tip is to keep Travel Planning as a regular item on the parents Forum agenda and always talk about travel to and from school and congestion.  This way it keeps everyone involved and offers more support to the Travel Plan Coordinator.  


The role can be difficult to find time for if you are a full time teacher and really to support the development of the TP it is important that the school management team give the coordinator some release time to fulfil the role, this shows the school values the travel plan and the work that the TP produces. 

How do you feel about travel planning supporting other areas of the school like mental health, wellbeing and active health? 

Yes it’s very important to support mental health and active lifestyles and linking it into the travel plan helps children not only be safer when travelling to and from school but encourages families to be more active and improve the environment around their schools.  We also provide children with healthy snacks and we are an Eco School so link everything up as part of a bigger picture.  For us the Modeshift travel plan is not a stand alone project, it is part of the ethos of the school and embedded into the what we do. 

Anything to show off about?   

The award nomination and winning the Local Authority Award gave us a chance to show our community what we had been doing and how the work we do has really made a difference to make things better for us all. We can show the impact of the travel plan work where historically we had 25% of families actively travelling to schools on a regular basis and now we are around 90% and it shows that over time if you keep reinforcing key messages, delivering activities and coming up with new ideas that it can make a difference.  

A good example of this was with the Park and Stride with our local Sainsburys which is close to the school and now parents can park there and walk to and from school.  Things like this really work. 

Approaching active Essex for a sheltered bike stand and now we have a proper provision which is safe and undercover it makes a big difference and people use it all year round.  With our Bikeability training we now do this after Sats in early June as children love Bikeability and the last month of the school year there is a big influx of year 6s cycling which is very good for transition for them getting ready for secondary school.  

Images of pupils at Woodville Primary School, Essex.

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