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Youth Travel Ambassadors in Trafford strive to progress their Modeshift STARS Accreditation and plan next steps

Four people wearing vis vests and raincoats stood behind a red Road Closed sign on a road


Modeshift STARS Education Programme Manager, Cheryl Ford Lyddon met with Act Travel Officer , Kelly Leat at Transport for Greater Manchester who works with schools to deliver the Youth Travel Ambassador Programme (YTA) across the Greater Manchester area. They chatted about her work on the Youth Travel Ambassador programme and linking it with Modeshift STARS.

Stretford High School, Trafford have been engaged with the YTA programme for two years now and have seen a positive modal shift in how their pupils travel to and from school.  They have achieved their Good level STARS Accreditation for their Travel Plan and are about to deliver their next campaign event.

Stretford High school started the YTA programme in the 2022/23 academic year and are in the second year of the programme. They have worked hard to deliver an effective campaign this year building on last years success which will culminate in a ‘no car day’ on Friday 24 May.

All schools in the YTA programme are asked to register to Modeshift STARS to develop their Travel Plan as a requirement of the programme.   The benefit of this is that the Travel Plan acts as a monitoring and evaluation tool for the YTA programme and it’s a great way for schools to pull together all the work they have been doing. The STARS system helps to school to keep a record of the YTA activities and other initiatives which are submitted as part of the accreditation process.

Last years campaign at Stretford High School was Walk to School Week which was run as a point based competition to encourage pupils to travel more sustainably. This accumulated with students with the most points willing prizes. A celebration ‘no car day’ event was held and the road outside the school was closed for the day like a trial School Street. It was a such as big success that the students decided to run the programme again this year but make it bigger and better.

We asked Kelly Leat

Is the school more ambitious this year and have they set their targets higher? Kelly reported that ‘yes’ the school are more engaged and definitely setting out to achieve more this year.  They have learned a lot from the previous year and have significantly increased their promotion of the event and have been tweeting and sending letters to residents and other local businesses.  They have promoted the campaign far more widely in the school too and secured funding to purchase a bike as a prize.

Progression from YTA to developing a STARS travel Plan.  Schools have to sign up to STARS as part of the criteria for becoming a YTA school. Kelly provides support and training to the schools to help them use STARS to input survey data, initiatives and set objectives and targets. The aim is to ensure that the schools in YTA reach at least ‘Good’ level accreditation and maintain it.

Last year Stretford High School achieved ‘Good’ STARS accreditation and they have done enough this year through YTA to maintain this level or go to the next level.

What are the next steps?

Stretford High will be continuing with the YTA programme next year under the watchful eye of the School Travel Champion Emma Clark.  After seeing a positive modal shift in walking and a reduction in car use, some YTA students are leading on the travel surveys and taking on a bigger role in developing and delivering the travel plan.

Further thoughts

Taking on two projects in one go is a challenge but Stretford High have shown that it is achievable and the school took it on and succeeded in delivering a successful campaign and achieving accreditation on their Travel Plan.  This is due to the commitment and hard work of the school travel champion and the students who make up the YTA group and the support of Kelly from TFGM.

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