The Cherwell School community is working to make travel to and from school safer, healthier and more environmentally sustainable.
We are the number one cycling school in the UK! No other school has such a high proportion of students (58.4% and rising) who regularly come to school by bike. Our cycling rate is 20 times the national average. Cherwell has become a benchmark school, a model of good practice in promoting cycling. 15.7% travel by bus and 14.8% walk – adding up to a total of 88.9% who use sustainable means of travel.
We recognise that some students have to come by car but feel that others may come by car because of lack of information about, or lack of confidence in, the alternatives. We are keen to promote the alternatives and to help students choose more sustainable forms of transport.
We strongly discourage dropping students off by car, unless there are special circumstances. Given the large volume of bicycles going in and out of the School, there is a risk of an accident – especially at the entrances to South Site and the Rugby Club car park. If on occasion it is essential to drop off or collect your child by car, we urge you to use the Ferry Centre car park. If you use the Rugby Club car park, please exercise great care. We are currently piloting the use of Bike Marshalls at the start and end of the school day to improve safety at the road junctions into school on the Marston Ferry Road. School drives or car parks must not be used under any circumstances because of the dangers posed to students and staff, and to other motorists using Marston Ferry Road.
The Cherwell Travel Action Group (CTAG) meets once or twice every term to discuss how to make travel to and from school safer and environmentally sustainable. We aim in particular to promote cycling, walking and bus transport; reduce the risk of accidents; encourage cyclists to consider the needs of non-cyclists and enable students and teachers to park their bicycles safely and securely.
All members of the school community are welcome to attend and we would love some new people in the group. Are you interested in being involved? We recognise that people are busy and have differing amounts of time and energy to spare. Meetings usually last 1 hour. Even if you can’t come to meetings, we can send you meeting notes and updates by email – and involve you in our activities and planning.
As a result of new facilities provided by the County Council, we now have a sufficient number of modern bike racks to meet demand. The great majority are covered and locked during school-time.
The school is aware of the risks involved in the arrival and departure of such large numbers of cyclists. Students are regularly reminded through year assemblies and school bulletins to show consideration to pedestrians and non-Cherwell cyclists, and about safety. The following web-link is also a useful reminder of best practice for cycling safely in Oxford: http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/efficient-cycling. We consistently urge students to wear helmets, and in year assemblies there are annual demonstrations of the consequences of not wearing one. We welcome your support in encouraging your child to wear a helmet every time they cycle. Wearing one yourself sets a good example!
Incoming year 7 students are to be provided with maps showing approved safe cycling routes to Cherwell.
We are keen to provide safe cycling skills for students, and are running some before-school sessions for Year 7 students and at our after School Cycling Club. Bikeability is a national cycling proficiency scheme and complements any training pupils may have received in primary school. If you would like your child to have Bikeability training please contact us as soon as possible so that we can try to organise training. If you would like to know more, please email
Remember to regularly check your bike and/or your child's bike! See checklist below, plus list of where you can get your bike serviced/repaired.
Oxfordshire County Council has produced a map setting out routes to Cherwell avoiding – insofar as possible – main roads. To download it click here . You can also generate your own route to school by inputting your postcode on the Cycle Streets website.
We liaise regularly with providers of bus services. If students are experiencing difficulties with bus timetables / routes, do get in touch as we are occasionally able to secure changes to services. Cherwell students have asked the Oxford Bus Company to consider the possibility of a pre-paid card for students and the request is being actively considered. The timetables of buses serving Cherwell School can be found here.
A ‘Key’ bus pass for occasional/emergency use
The Key is Oxford Bus Company’s re-usable bus pass which uses smart technology to store travel credits. Regular bus users may already have a bus pass to come to school but did you know that you can also purchase a multi-trip product for occasional use? This type of ‘Key’ offers 12 single journeys which can be used for any trip within a 6 month period. To purchase the Key you can either visit the Oxford Bus Company’s travel shop at Gloucester Green or go online at www.oxfordkey.co.uk. The card can be topped up at any time with another 12 journeys and can be cancelled and replaced if it is lost, stolen or damaged.
Cherwell is fortunate to be connected to two dedicated cycle paths but disadvantaged by having a main road between the two sites. In view of the considerable risk to cyclists and pedestrians we have petitioned the County Council requesting a 20mph speed limit from the junction of Banbury Road/Marston Ferry Road until the exit of the Rugby Club cart park. The petition was signed by several hundred members of the school community and the entire governing body. We were disappointed that our request has been rejected but intend to keep campaigning on this issue.
In early 2015 we were delighted that our campaign to have a central white line painted on the Marston Ferry cycle track met with approval from the council, and a line dividing the track was duly painted, with accompanying markings. (There had been a number of accidents at the very busy school arrival and departure times.) We continue to educate Cherwell students in the need for awareness and consideration on the cycle track, and to provide students with the opportunity to receive group cycling skills training.
In late 2013, after a well-supported petition set up by a Cherwell parent, the County Council agreed to endeavour to pre-treat the Marston Road cycle track if snow is expected, and to clear it afterwards. We are delighted with this decision and would like to thank the Council and all those who supported the petition. Please note: Students are not allowed to cross Marston Ferry Road when moving between North and South sites, but must instead always make use of the subway. The subway was repainted recently by Year 9 students – well worth a visit!
Cycle racks are kept under surveillance during the school day. Most but not all of the cycle racks on the South Site are in cages which are locked during the day. Sixth Formers come and go during the day so some areas of the North Site cycle park are kept openly accessible; the other areas are locked. As elsewhere in Oxford with large concentrations of cycles, there are occasional thefts. Cherwell students are strongly advised to purchase and use a solid lock and to postcode bicycles.
Stuart Meanwell, a Cherwell parent and owner of Summertown Cycles (200-202 Banbury Road), has kindly agreed to provide members of the Cherwell community with a 20% discount off the following cycling accessories:
In addition, the School is able to offer a significant discount on a set of award-winning, rechargeable, easy-attach front and rear lights* which we will purchase for you and have delivered to your child’s form for £17.00 (RRP £31.99). Cheques payable to The Cherwell School Academy – to be placed in an envelope marked ‘Bike Lights’ and posted in the red box outside the Finance Office North Site or Reception South Site. If your child is a Cherwell Scholar or in receipt of the 16-19 Bursary we are able to offer the lights at half price (£8.50).
* ONE23 Atom Pro Twinset lights (RRP £31.99) won 'BEST ON TEST' in a Cycling Plus lights group test: "bright, even from the side... measured flashing runtime 48 hours front, 51 hours rear... the switch takes a good firm push to turn them on ... no chance of turning these on by accident in a bag"
Jean Fooks, County Councillor and Cherwell Governor, opens North Site bicycle park