St Ninian’s praised for pedal power

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St Ninian’s High has been crowned East Dunbartonshire’s first cycle-friendly Secondary School.

Cycling Scotland recently visited the Kirkintilloch school and was impressed by the “outstanding” work taking place to promote pedal power.

St Ninian’s has been awarded Cycle Friendly Secondary School status with distinction for three years.

The school has been working closely with Sustrans Scotland, which used Transport Scotland funding to provide St Ninian’s with 32 mountain bikes in 2015.

Pupils and teachers also have access to cycle parking, lockers, showers and changing facilities, as well as a number of local cycle paths.

The most recent flurry of activity has come from a weekly lunchtime cycling club run by teachers from across the school, who have gained Velotech certification so they can now deliver a National SQA qualification in bike

maintenance.

The led cycle rides have evolved from 20-minute jaunts along the canal to full-day expeditions to Millport and The Kelpies.

Matt Wilberton, Cycling Scotland development officer, said, “It is clear that there is an enthusiasm and commitment among staff to promote cycling at St Ninian?s.

“I was very impressed how embedded cycling is at the school and with the level of delivery.

“St Ninian’s is taking a sustainable approach and steady progress towards a major increase in staff and pupils cycling.”

Education convener Councillor Mohrag Fischer said: “We’re delighted that pedal power is at the heart of

pioneering work to steer young people towards bright and healthy futures at St Ninian’s.

“As well as helping to improve health and wellbeing, the club also allows senior pupils to develop their leadership skills and contribute to the school community.

“Well done to everyone involved for their hard work. As an authority we are committed to supporting our youngsters to use active travel - particularly to and from school.”

Headteacher Paul McLaughlin said, “It was a great boost to receive the cycle fleet from Sustrans Scotland - allowing the PE department and teaching colleagues to be trained as ride leaders.

“As a result we have been able to organise regular led cycle trips and it has helped to inspire our weekly lunchtime cycling club - which is run by teachers from across the school.

“It’s a great example of teamwork by staff within the school, and with pupils and parents. The club even has its own Twitter account - @snhs_cycling - to keep people informed of local and national events.”

Sustrans cycling officer Donald Macdonald said: “It has been great to see the school embracing the benefits of cycling so enthusiastically.

“I am particularly impressed with the level of commitment shown by staff across all departments, giving up their spare time to be trained to take the young people out on bikes.”