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School goes extra mile to win walking and wheeling award

Pupils and staff at Swansea’s Maes Derw School have gone the extra mile to earn an award for promoting walking, cycling and scooting as part of an active lifestyle.

It has become the first pupil referral unit (PRU) in Wales to achieve the Active Travel School Bronze Award from Sustrans.

Working with the national charity the school has encouraged pupils and staff to walk, cycle and scoot to school and to take part in a daily mile so they are more alert and engaged when lessons begin.

There have been maintenance workshops to teach pupils the skills they need to maintain and mend their bikes and sessions to improve their confidence, safety and skills, including a visit by Matti Hemmings of the Fusion Extreme BMX stunt team.

Pupils have enjoyed adventures exploring local cycle routes including the seafront and Clyne Valley and have taken part in national events such as Cycle to School Week.

They have also been involved in community art projects on the National Cycle Network.

Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure Andrew Stevens joined pupils, the council’s Director of Education Helen Morgan-Rees, Maes Derw’s acting headteacher Samantha Whitford and school staff when Christine Boston and Roger Dutton from Sustrans to present the award.

Cllr Stevens said: “Being more active has so many benefits to health and wellbeing but working towards the Active Travel Award has also helped pupils learn new skills and develop their confidence.

“It also has environmental benefits as it helps reduce traffic on our roads and encourages pupils to enjoy the outdoors a bit more outside of school.

“Congratulations to all Maes Derw who have been involved in this achievement and a big thank-you to Sustrans for working so closely with and being so supportive of the school.”

Christine Boston, Director at Sustrans Cymru, said: “We’re really proud of the work done by Maes Derw, and they should be really proud of themselves to be the first pupil referral unit in Wales to achieve this award.

“It’s great to see that the Maes Derw community is committed to encouraging walking, wheeling, and cycling, their work shows that travelling actively should be and is available for everyone.”