The Junior Travel Ambassador (JTA) scheme is a national initiative that encourages peer-to-peer engagement and is used to promote safer, active and independent travel within the school community. It's a fun and engaging way to spread important messages and build skills for life. The JTA scheme aims to take a more direct approach to promoting independent travel, particularly for the children in Years 4 to 6, who may now be travelling to and from school independently.
How do I become a JTA?
The scheme is offered to the children in our Year Five class. Mrs Hart meets with the classes at the beginning of the year to explain what the role involves and to share the job description outlining what is expected from all of our JTA's. Children are then asked to complete application forms for the role noting their interests, strengths and why they feel that they would be a suitable candidate. Previous members of the JTA team then meet together with Mrs Bull and the members of the Senior Management Team to make their selection.
Our JTA's for 2023-2024 are:
- Matilda A
What's involved in being a JTA?
Our selected Junior Travel Ambassadors are actively involved in planning the different ways in which safer, active and independent travel can be encouraged and supported across the school. Their work includes leading on and running projects, assemblies, organising workshops and competitions to share ideas on travel planning and learning how to use Transport for London's Journey Planner. There are a number of themes that the children explore each half term such as learning about the green cross code, 'belt up' - travelling in cars, cycling safety and more. We work in partnership with Merton's Road Safety Officer, Charmaine Jacques. Once the candidates have been nominated and selected she is then invited to attend our awards assembly where the successful children are presented with their JTA badges and information packs. She then meets with the newly appointed team to discuss projects that they can begin working on.
What have the JTA's achieved?
Over the past few years, the JTA teams have been instrumental in campaigns such as educating the school on the importance of 'being safe and being seen' during the darker winter months, with competitions to design and make hi-visibility jackets, 'hipped-up' helmets and 'blinged up' bikes! We are incredibly proud of those individuals who have successfully seen their work published - this is great. We were delighted to have the KS2 winner for the London's Lungs poster competition in Merton in 2021. Our school winners are proudly on display and can be found at www.merton.gov.uk/communities-and-neighbourhoods/pollution/air-quality-and-air-pollution/clean-air-day-2021.
These are but a few of the creative and innovative ideas the children have brought to the school. With the challenges of such a large school population and limited access to the school via South Gardens, our children are crucial ambassadors for road safety
Our JTA team work hard with new families joining the school to promote the need to travel more sustainably. Families new to the school receive a leaflet with top tips from our JTAs and sustainable travel team to support them in swapping the car for other, more sustainable travel modes and are pinpointed to our website where they can find all of the incredible initiatives run by our JTA Team to encourage and support families in becoming healthier and happier on their journey to and from school.
As a result of the JTA's initiatives over the past few years, we have seen:
- An increase in the percentage of children travelling to school via 'active' means from 80% in 2017 to 84% in 2021
- The percentage of children travelling to school by car has remained static at 10%, however a higher percentage of families are now parking further away from school and walking 5 minutes or more (2% in 2017 and 5% in 2021)
- A significant increase in the percentage of children walking to school from 51% 2017 to 73% in 2021
Across the last four academic years we have seen consistent improvements in the enthusiasm and numbers of children and families choosing to come to school by means other than the car, with the percentage of children walking to school increasing year on year and the percentage coming to school by car decreasing year on year.