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STARS Spotlight – Alfreton Nursery School, Derbyshire

Find out how this nursery became nominated for STARS Early Years Setting of the Year at the 2020 STARS Awards.

Behaviour Change seen at the school 

Having already previously integrated sustainable travel into their eco-school ethos staff at Alfreton nursery continue to embrace opportunities to promote active travel, particularly cycling & scooting, including providing Balanceability sessions and taking part in national cycle campaigns – all of which are showcased on social media via their Twitter and Facebook pages.   

This year they have established a link with the local police team to support Road Safety Week and have adapted nursery rhymes to give the songs an active travel theme for World Nursery Rhyme Week.  

As a result from an initial baseline of 0% cycling and scooting in 2016/17 – the latest modal share figures show 13.5% of children now cycle or scoot to school. In addition some parents also cycle to school carrying children in cycle seats. For parents who do travel by car, in aim to reduce air pollution, they have been encouraged to park and stride from a nearby supermarket. 

Top 3 Achievements 

  1. Mini riders and gliders – Thanks to an application to the Tesco Bags of Help fund the school have been able to buy their own balance bikes & pedal bikes to provide year round access for children to practice key skills for cycling on the playground cycle track road layout.  

Parent & child Balanceability sessions are organised thanks to an arrangement with the nearby secondary school to use their sports hall, so that parents and carers are involved in activities to develop children’s confidence to progress to pedalling. Storage racks are provided for those children who are able to cycle or scoot to school.  

Staff also act as role models taking part in the ‘Love to Ride’ initiative cycling to school themselves & encouraging parents to do likewise during Cycle September and Bike Week. 

  1. World Nursery Rhyme Week – the school adapted nursery rhymes to include an active travel element to a week focussed on promoting the importance of nursery rhymes in early childhood development & education – for example to the tune of round around a garden – “on the way to nursery school, like a superstar, one step, two step, don’t go in the car” & “10 little ducks went walking one day” then cycling, scooting and other active modes. 
  1. Road Safety Week – the school used the Brake campaign week to work in partnership with the local police Safer Neighbourhood team with officers interacting with the children on the bike track – including talking about the importance of stopping at the road side & issuing speeding tickets to those going too fast! The schools work was also featured on the Educator Activities’ section of Brake’s website as an example of best practice in an Early Years setting. 

Why the local authority has nominated this school 

Alfreton nursery is the first nursery school in Derbyshire to achieve the Modeshift Gold STARS. They do not let the age of pupils detract from their determination to ensure children are involved, experience and understand the importance of making active journeys to school. They achieve this through partnership working, innovation, creativity and authentic role modelling. They are an excellent example to illustrate how children are never too young to be encouraged to make active travel part of everyday life.