23 @the_isba Autumn 2021 | Environmental sustainability Despite these problems, many parents still feel the need to directly manage their child’s school journey every day, which often means a significant increase to the number of polluting cars on the roads during rush hour. Why is this? Simple – for many parents, there is no sustainable, reliable, convenient alternative. Transport is consistently ranked in the top three decision-making factors for parents when choosing a school. Simply put, if parents cannot be confident that they have a convenient, safe means of taking their child to school every day of the week, then all other considerations fall by the wayside. If schools can put parental fears around the safety and efficiency of their transport at rest, then parents will feel confident enough to stop the school runs and keep their cars away from the school gates. Given that just one 49-seater school coach replaces an average of 31 cars on the road, schools that begin working towards this goal will significantly improve their carbon footprint, make families’ lives easier and become a far more attractive prospect to parents. • For school staff: School staff also worry about excessive single-occupancy car use. In our recent survey of school leaders from across the UK ( request-transport-guide-2021/ ), we found that 13 percent of them were concerned about the toxic air around their school as a result of traffic fumes, and a further 21.7 percent felt that the number of cars clustered around their school gates every day were a problem. Nearly half (43.6 percent) of school leaders also highlighted the critical role a well-managed school run has to play in pupil wellbeing. Cutting out toxic, stressful car journeys in favour of greener alternatives, such as walking, cycling and shared transport, starts pupils’ day off in the best possible way. This in turn ensures they are able to spend as much time as possible in the classroom, which positively impacts their own development and teachers’ capacity to do their jobs. How to implement a greener, smarter school run As only 31.2 percent of schools have invested in measures to improve their carbon footprint over the past decade, many run the risk of falling behind the curve. So how do independent schools make the move towards a greener, smarter school run? Without doubt, greener, zero-emission transport modalities such as walking and cycling should be encouraged wherever possible. However, given that independent schools often have a significantly longer home-to-school journey than state-run equivalents – in a parent survey, we found that independent schools were often more than six miles from 51 percent of pupil households, compared with 20 percent of state school equivalents – this will not be viable for all, and a holistic approach to school transport is required. Apps, such as HomeRun, can help to reduce car usage on school commutes and can also collect data directly from parents regarding their child(ren)’s mode of transport, supplementing this with actual data on emissions from the DVLA. This holistic approach allows schools to track trends, spot areas where transport links are lacking and take positive action to ensure safer, greener, more convenient alternatives and quantify improvements. Coupled with shared, school- managed transport, this sees rush-hour traffic congestion significantly ease while also improving a school’s carbon footprint by eliminating as much as 5,000 kilos of CO 2 annually per school. The future of home-to-school transport for independent schools lies in smart, shared transport that parents feel safe using and can trust to care for their children. Just as technology is transforming transport more widely, successful shared transport solutions should be underpinned by innovative technology that removes parental worry such as pupil safeguarding concerns, and allows schools to devote more time to their pupils. Why independent schools should get on board The school run is a continual challenge for pupils, staff and parents alike – all of whom, as our research shows, are increasingly conscious of their school’s environmental impact. Subsequently, independent schools that can provide parents with more sustainable and convenient modes of transport for their children become a far more attractive prospect to all stakeholders. Given that many schools remain behind the curve, the financial, reputational and environmental dividends in store for schools that take steps to meet this clear need are virtually limitless. Technology can add huge value to the school run, helping to manage existing transport solutions more effectively via self-serve software that makes pupil and vehicle tracking available for schools and parents. This reduces administration, simplifies parent communication and increases demand for shared transport. And all it takes is one extra new pupil admission to fund annually. A safer, greener, smarter school run, with technology at its heart. Pupils want it, their parents want it and some schools – a select few innovators – are already doing it. Now is the time to get on board, or get left behind. Author Godfrey Ryan CEO of school transport provider, Kura Implemented correctly, a greener school run can significantly improve the lives of all involved and result in tangible long-term benefits reaching far beyond simply a lower carbon footprint. Cutting out toxic, stressful car journeys in favour of greener alternatives,such as walking,cycling and shared transport,starts pupils’days off in the best possible way

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