Representatives from St. Brendan's College, Belmullet, collect their Green-Schools Big Travel Challenge Award. Photo: Bryan Brophy

Mayo school named Ireland’s Carpool School of the Year

Mayo school St. Brendan’s College was named one of Ireland’s Travel Schools of the Year (Carpool Mode) at a ceremony in Dublin on Tuesday.

An Taisce Green-Schools presented the school with their award at the event honouring the winners of this year’s Green-Schools BIG Travel Challenge 2023 in Haughton House of Dublin Zoo.

Eleven other schools were also awarded on the day for their efforts promoting sustainable and active travel modes to school.

During February schools undertook the Big Travel Challenge, which asked them to concentrate on one sustainable transport mode for two weeks to see if they could achieve real, lasting change in the travel behaviour of their staff and students. The challenge is an initiative of the Green-Schools travel theme, which is supported by the NTA and the Department of Transport.

St. Brendan’s College in Belmullet, a school of 380 students, excelled at and embraced the challenge. They concentrated on encouraging students to carpool to school, and saw the number of students opting to travel to school by carpool significantly increase over the two-week period.

The committee posed a challenge for every class to carry out the task of calculating how much CO2 they saved by carpooling daily and the impact this would have on the environment. Parents were also made aware of the impact.

Congratulating St. Brendan’s College and the other awarded schools on their achievements, Green-Schools travel manager Ciara Norton said: “My team and I have been so inspired by the many ways schools approached the Big Travel Challenge this year. The winning schools created incredible change in a short period of time, showing the desire among young people to travel to school independently, actively and in a mode that is mindful of our climate and local environment. Well done to all!”

The ultimate aim of the Green-Schools travel theme is to encourage students, parents and teachers to walk, cycle, scoot, park ‘n’ stride, use public transport or car pool instead of using the private car on the school run.