In December 2021, Hillcrest Primary School was grateful to receive a Connecting School Grant. Our Your Move Green Team members believed that safety concerns of parents was a barrier to increasing active transport participation rates at our school. The team were keen to see if a technological solution could be trialed.
Our school organised a Your Move survey of our parents/carers in June 2022 and it was encouraging that we received 72 responses over two surveys, reflecting very similar responses. Parents were asked about the issues that impacted choice of transport to and from school. Work was identified as the biggest factor at 31%, with students attending before and after school care on site at 11%. This means that 42% of our students are impacted in some way in their transport choices by their parents work. Distance from school was second at 22%. Our school is not a catchment school, so it is not surprising that distance was a factor. Safety of children was third at 18%. We have 500 students in our school K-6 and if we extrapolate that figure we have up to 100 students where parents could choose active transport but are concerned about safety.
Another question we asked is if parents thought their child(ren) would want to use active transport more often, if that was possible. An overwhelming 86% of parents responded that their children want to walk, ride, scooter to school. Again, we believe that at least 100 of our students may choose to use active transport more, if we can assist them to do so.
We also asked parents, if they said they were concerned about safety, whether "smart watch" technology would make a difference in how often their children walked/rode to school - 62% said Yes and 38% said No. That figure was influenced by parents from Early Childhood saying no because their child is too young. However, those parents with older children and a child in early childhood have told us that the technology could be useful where they live very close to the school, or in a few years.
In the surveys we also asked parents/carers if they would like their child to participate in a trial using the 8 Moochies Watches we purchased with our Connecting Schools Grant. We have identified students from this process and they are about to start using the watches and report to us their findings. These families will participate in ongoing surveys over the next 12 months about their use of active transport and the impact of this technology on their decisions around active transport. Many of these families have younger siblings, who can also then use the technology.
Our school is very grateful to have received a Connecting Schools Grant tailored to our needs and to allow us to collect data and trial a technological solution to increase active transport participation rates. We see this as an ongoing research project that we can use to inform and enhance our existing Your Move activities. Thank you and we will keep you updated!
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