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Russet House School pedals to success

Published on:

13 July 2016

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An Enfield special school has shown the mettle in its pedals and scooped a national award for the second year in a row.

An Enfield special school has shown the mettle in its pedals and scooped a national award for the second year in a row.

Russet House Special School in Autumn Close, Enfield, has won both regional and national prizes in the Big Pedal Challenge. To celebrate, Cllr Daniel Anderson, Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Cllr Ayfer Orhan, Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Children's Services & Protection, paid a visit to the school yesterday (12 July) to see how cycling is being encouraged there.

The Big Pedal is the UK's largest inter-school cycling and scootering challenge. It inspires pupils, staff and parents to choose two wheels for their journey to school. On each day of the challenge schools compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupils, staff and parents cycling or scootering to school.

The win is a remarkable achievement for the school, which caters for young people with autism, with only 112 pupils who were up against all primary (including mainstream) schools with over half a million pupils participating annually. All pupils were involved in this initiative, which involved various activities using bikes, trikes and scooters.

As part of the challenge the children, staff and parents enjoyed a whole week of activities including visits from Enfield Council's 'Cycle Enfield' and 'Road Safety' teams.

In addition, the school now has a Friday afternoon Bike Club, which has been extremely popular. Not only is this fun for the children, but it also helps with balance, confidence, road awareness, pavement safety and the development of social skills.

The Headteacher of Russet House School, Julie Foster, said: "We are very proud of our children, staff and parents for supporting this event. It has helped inspire many parents to try cycling with their children."

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: "I offer hearty congratulations to Russet House Special School for its Big Pedal Award.

"Many youngsters love to ride bikes and scooters, and they do it because it's fun. The Big Pedal shows children that cycling to school is not only enjoyable, but that it can also help you to stay healthy. It has also shown parents how they can enjoy cycling with their children in safe areas, plus it is beneficial on all sorts of other levels, for example increasing social interaction and improving balance and confidence."

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Children's Services & Protection, Cllr Ayfer Orhan, said: "Russet House School has been working so hard to promote cycling and active travel to school and absolutely deserve to have won the Big Pedal in Enfield.

"To have reached such high cycling and levels, especially in a school which caters for young people with special needs, is a real testament to how a positive school culture can make all the difference."

The school is now raising funds to improve storage for the bikes in the playground. If you would like to make a donation please visit the Russet House School website.

The Big Pedal supports Enfield Council's 'Cycle Enfield' scheme, which will see £42m of external investment come into the borough. It will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our high streets and town centres, promote more active forms of travel, and create safe and secure cycle lanes, thereby facilitating a better Enfield for our residents, businesses and for those visiting.