Last February St.Paul’s took part in the nationwide Big Travel Challenge run by An Taisce. This competition saw the Green School Committee choose a mode of green transport to promote over a 10 day period. As we had noticed a drop off in the number of children cycling we set ourselves the challenge of encouraging more children to travel by bike on the school run. The committee made classroom visits and teachers recorded the numbers of cyclists daily over the ten day period. Names of all children who cycled were were entered into a raffle and Ms. Egan’s second class created some cool posters and slogans to display on the corridors.

The data we collected was sent in to An Taisce along with evidence of the work our Green School committee is involved in and details of how St. Paul’s embraced the Big Travel Challenge 2017. Our cyclists increased from a baseline figure of 32 to 104 by Day 10 of the challenge and this was based on data received from 552 pupils. We were delighted with the improvement!!

Things got even better two weeks ago when we received word that St. Paul’s had won a prize in the Big Travel Challenge awards. Details were kept secret and we were invited to attend an awards ceremony and create a display focussing on our Green School work on the travel theme.

Seven lucky committee members along with Ms. O’Doherty, Ms. Egan and Ms. Prendiville set off for the Hilton Hotel, Kilmainham on Wednesday 10th May armed with big smiles and a colourful display! It was lovely to browse and see all of the work the seven other featured schools were involved in and we got to listen to some very interesting speakers. Then came the highlight – the awards ceremony itself! We couldn’t believe it when we were announced as the Cycling School of the Year 2017!!

We were presented with an engraved plaque, a framed and mounted certificate and a cheque for €500 to put towards our Green School endeavours next year!! To be in the top 8 of 1800 schools eligible to enter this competition is a huge achievement and we are all very proud of the Green School Committee and all of the pupils and parents of St. Paul’s who have embraced the idea of sustainable, green travel and are playing such an important part in changing our attitudes and safeguarding our environment for future generations!