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School Travel

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Travelling to School: A Good Practice Guide on children’s behaviour cost (a) to produce and (b) to promote; how many copies have been distributed in each year since publication; and what assessment he has made of the impact thereof. (105367)

I have been asked to reply.

The production cost was £18,861. However, as it is now more than three years since the guide was published, it is not possible to give an accurate estimate of the manpower costs incurred by the Department for Transport and the Department for Education and Skills in researching and writing the guide.

A total of 8,238 copies of the guide have were distributed up to the end of December 2006, 2,206 in 2003, 2,751 in 2004, 2,662 in 2005 and 619 in 2006.

Both Departments have promoted the Travelling to School project to bring about a step change in home to school travel patterns. School travel plans are seen as the key strategies in cutting congestion and pollution while allowing more pupils to take regular exercise, and the objective is for every school in England to have an approved school travel plan in place by the end of the decade. At the end of March 2006, just over 10,000 schools had a school travel plan.

An initial evaluation in 2005 of the Travelling to School project found a strong evidence base that school travel plans can be effective mechanisms for reducing car dependency on the journey to school. They can also deliver wider benefits including improvements in pupil behaviour, increased confidence and independent mobility for pupils with special educational needs, improved punctuality and school attendance, engaging schools and pupils from deprived areas, building positive relationships with local authorities and local communities and improved safety.