Frequently asked questions for schools starting a school travel plan

This page is for schools new to Modeshift STARS that want to find out how to create their school travel plans on the Modeshift STARS platform.

Page contents:

What is Modeshift STARS and why does Surrey County Council endorse Modeshift STARS when creating school travel plans?

Launched in 2008, Modeshift STARS is the centre of excellence for the delivery of effective travel plans. It's an accreditation scheme which recognises and rewards schools that show ongoing excellence in supporting active and sustainable travel to school, across their school communities.

Surrey County Council endorses using Modeshift STARS when creating school travel plans as it provides a comprehensive system and framework to create, develop and implement a travel plan at a school. The system and scheme also allow for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of a travel plan, as well as the initiatives.

Are there different levels of accreditation for your travel plan?

Yes, there are. There are 5 tiered levels of accreditation ranging from Green through to Platinum.

Green accreditation provides the first foundation level to accreditation. All necessary areas of the travel plan must be completed, including:

  • An introduction
  • Aims and objectives
  • Travel & transport section
  • Defining your issues
  • Setting your two targets
  • Inputting your 10 planned initiatives
  • Inputting your 5 planned supporting initiatives
  • Inputting your 2 planned consultation initiatives

Bronze accreditation is the next step-up from green and to achieve this you must conduct the following:

  • A simple pupil and staff travel survey asking both pupils and staff how they currently travel to school, and then how they would prefer to travel to school. (Please note, for primary schools you need an 80% response rate from pupils, and for secondary schools you need a 70% response rate. For staff, you need a 50% response rate.)
  • As well as this, you still need the same number of initiatives (travel, supporting and consultation), but these should be completed initiatives and not just planned initiatives.

Bronze level is the level of accreditation that is recognised by Surrey County Council's Transport Planning team when a school is creating a travel plan to fulfil requirements for a planning application.

Silver accreditation is the next step-up from Bronze and to achieve this you must also conduct the following:

  • Establish a working group with actions documented
  • Run a simple pupil and staff travel survey in the academic year that you're applying to be accredited in, whilst also having run another survey in the last three academic years
  • You must also see a reduction in pupils travelling to school by car in the last four academic years. For example, in the current year you're seeking accreditation versus any of the last four academic years.
  • There is also an increase in the number of completed initiatives to achieve. These are:
    20 completed initiatives
    10 completed supporting initiatives
    7 completed consultation initiatives
  • Evidence is required for all completed initiatives

Gold accreditation is the next step up up from Silver and to achieve this you must also conduct the following:

  • Have seen a 5-percentage point reduction in pupils travelling by car to school in the last four academic years. For example, in the current year you're seeking accreditation versus any of the last four academic years.
  • There is also an increase in the number of completed initiatives to achieve. These are:
    25 completed initiatives
    15 completed supporting initiatives
    10 completed consultation initiatives
  • The school should demonstrate that it has exceeded expectations in at least one of the following areas: Walking, cycling, public transport, air quality or road safety and training.

Platinum accreditation is the final level of accreditation and to achieve this you must also conduct the following:

  • Run a minimum of three simple pupil and staff travel surveys over the last four years, including one in the current academic year that accreditation is sought after
  • As well as this, to have seen an increase in active travel modes (walk, cycle, scoot) for the whole journey of at least 5 percentage points in the last four academic years, including in the current academic year that accreditation is sought after

What level of accreditation do most schools look to achieve at the beginning?

Surrey County Council's Safer Travel team recognise bronze-level as being an acceptable level for schools to complete their travel plan to. This level also provides schools the ability to start collecting survey data which they can continue to analyse on an annual basis.

When creating my first travel plan, can I just skip green or bronze, and move straight to silver or above?

I'm afraid you can't. You will need to have at least a bronze accreditation in your first year, then after your first year, you can look to progress to silver and beyond. This is driven by the number of surveys you would have need to of conducted for silver and above.

How many Surrey schools have currently created their travel plan on Modeshift STARS?

As of the end of the academic year 2020/2021, 54 Surrey schools had completed their travel plan. 30% of these were secondary schools and 70% were primary schools. We are estimating a 30% year on year increase of schools creating Modeshift STARS travel plans by the end of the academic year 21/22.

How long does it take to create a travel plan on Modeshift STARS?

We would advise that a travel plan can be created from the start, obtaining sign off to bronze-level, in one single term. This would allow plenty of time to fulfil all criteria, gain internal support as well as liaising with the Safer Travel team at Surrey County Council to obtain feedback and sign off.

If a school did wish to complete a bronze travel plan quicker than this, the same bronze-level plan with sign off can be obtained in a half-term if there is continued dialogue with the Safer Travel team at Surrey County Council, and feedback from the Safer Travel Team is actioned efficiently and effectively.

Once we have gained accreditation, how long does it last for?

Your accreditation lasts for 12 months. You will need to monitor and update your travel plan over the 12 months after accreditation to submit for reaccreditation and gain a further 12 months.

How many staff members does a school need to dedicate to creating a school travel plan on Modeshift STARS?

You need at least one staff member to be the internal Travel Plan Champion and Project Manager. However, this person should also draw on the wider expertise and knowledge across the school community, whilst multiple logins can be provided to the school for other staff members or key stakeholders who wish to input into the travel plan.

Who should be involved in creating and implementing a travel plan at a school?

There should always be a nominated Travel Plan Champion (or Project Manager) at the school involved with the day-to-day of creating the travel plan and uploading the necessary information into Modeshift STARS. However, the wider Senior Leadership Team and Governors should be consulted and help create elements of the travel plan, with particular focus into what the aims and objectives are of the travel plan; defining the issues; setting the school's targets; and providing guidance on what initiatives the school has implemented, and what the school can implement moving forward.

Can a travel plan that is created on Modeshift STARS be shared externally?

Yes, it can. Travel plans are public-facing documents that can be called upon by any member of the public, or within the direct school community. Once created, this document can be downloaded as a PDF already formatted, and we encourage this to be visible and available on a school's website.

If we want to create our school travel plan on Modeshift STARS, can we receive help in doing so?

Yes, the Safer Travel Team at Surrey County Council are the team that lead on facilitating Modeshift STARS travel plans across all of Surrey's schools.

Initially, the Safer Travel Team will meet with you over Microsoft Teams to provide a short introduction and overview to the scheme and system. If you wish to proceed, they will then set you up with a login and book you on to one of the training courses that will be taking place. There are usually one to two training courses taking place each month, but if there are more schools waiting to attend, the Safer Travel Team will agree a date and a time that best fits those schools waiting to attend training.

When you're in the process of creating your travel plan, the Safer Travel Team will provide help and guidance throughout the process. There is a drop-in surgery session that happens every week, allowing schools to drop in via Microsoft Teams to ask any questions or seek guidance on their travel plan. (Exact dates and times change, so please confirm these with the Safer Travel team).

How do I register for a login on Modeshift STARS?

The Safer Travel Team will set your school up with a login to Modeshift STARS once the initial introduction to the scheme and system has taken place, and when you've nominated a school Travel Plan Champion.

To arrange this initial meeting via Microsoft Teams, please email: schooltravelplans@surreycc.gov.uk.