"We have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Eco Race. It’s been a really rewarding way of bringing together our whole school community from foundation stage right through to year 6."

St Lawrence CoE Primary, Rowhedge

About Eco-Race

About Eco-Race

The Eco-Race Essex is an easy to run competition, which encourages every pupil to note down how they travel to school, with those who choose active travel to school (cycling, walking and scooting) receiving higher scores. Instructions and score sheets are supplied - see the Downloads & Resources page.

The Eco-Race is FREE and is open to ALL Essex infant, primary and junior schools.

Should you have queries or want to join, contact Aba, your local Sustrans Schools officer. You can find her contact details on the Contact Us page.

Eco Race - How does it work?

Class Score Sheets (preferably stuck on the classroom wall) are used by pupils to circle the score relating to the way they travel to school: 5 points for cycling, scooting or walking, 4 points for taking the bus, 3 points for parking at least 1km away and walking/scooting to school, and 1 point for taking the car/taxi/moped. This process is repeated every day for three weeks (each term). Class Score Sheets are then collected and sent to the Sustrans Schools officer who collates the data and allocates prizes.

A brief history of the Eco Race

The Eco Race was designed and launched in 2011 in a number of Colchester schools as a paper alternative to the Big Pedal, a nationwide cycle-to-school competition offered to schools by Sustrans in March every year. A number of those schools, in fact, had requested the Sustrans officer to provide them with a similar activity but which did not completely rely on a website and internet to enter daily data and that, at the same time, was “more relaxed” in the timing of the data-entry.

This request also coincided with the Sustrans officer based in Colchester being given the task to cover the whole County rather than just one town and, rather than focus only on cycling, to promote all types of active travel, thus including scooting and walking too.

In the past 4 years the Eco Race has evolved: from points given only to pupils cycling or scooting/walking, to rewarding all those attending school (even those being taken by car); from giving the same score to those walking or scooting to separating the category and granting an extra point to those scooting due to the balance-skill involved in the activity; from one overall category to separate age groups (KS1, KS2 and KS3); from being offered as a one-off competition in the spring term to being a year-round activity aiming at promoting culture change by focussing on active travel three weeks each term.

In 2015 the scoring system was changed again to answer the prayers of parents who wanted to see ALL active travel modes being recognised equally. From September that year, cycling, scooting and walking all scored 5 points.

In January 2016 there was another tweak: a score of 4 was given to all pupils travelling to school by bus instead of the previous 2 points.

From September 2016 a Park & Stride score of 3 points was introduced. This is given to those who park at least 1km away from the school and walk/scoot the rest. With this new category those who live far from the school can bank more points (and get some exercise!).  

The Eco Race is by no means perfect – and we appreciate that it may not seem fair to some of you - but as it stands it is the fairest it has been and it certainly is more inclusive than any other competitions available to schools at the moment. Of course, there is still room for improvement and we are more than happy to take your suggestions/feedback should you have any. Just call/write to the Sustrans Schools officer for Essex and share your thoughts with her.

Thank you