About the HOPPA
We launched at Crowlees School in Mirfield in May 2013 after months of consultation involving the children and parents and support from the Green Schools Revolution, our local Co-Operative store, Kirklees Council and Sustrans.
From the outset, we engaged every child (427, aged from four to 11) and discovered that more than 50% of children at Crowlees School travel to school by car BUT most would LIKE TO WALK!
We learnt that 38% of families would consider joining a Walking Bus,
31% would be interested in Car Share and 59% would like to Park & Stride.
However, after speaking to other schools, I wasn’t convinced these schemes work.
Park & Stride doesn’t offer any incentive to use the designated areas as an alternative to parking nearer school. Rotas and routes for walking buses are complicated to manage, car share is logistically difficult to set up and still involves cars coming near school.
So, I decided to combine the Park & Stride and Walking Bus ideas and came up with the Hoppa (named after the airport buses which take passengers from point to point, terminal to aircraft).
The children were excited about the idea from the word go! I introduced it in a whole school assembly and got the Reception children hopping to win prizes!!!
The Hoppa launched with 14 children and we now have 30! Our helpers (parents and grandparents) are DBS-checked and we are insured by Kirklees Council whose Road Safety Officers trained helpers and risk assessed the route. We also adhere to Kirklees child / helper ratios.
How does Hoppa work?
So what is the Hoppa? It is an original and innovative box-ticker with regard to many of the Government’s key Think! issues: –
- Improving dangerous congestion around schools
- Helping primary children gain ‘real-life’ road awareness
- Allowing primary children to increase their daily exercise
- Helping busy parents work together
- Creating a sustainable alternative to driving to school
- Helping primary children make friends and have fun!
We engaged the whole school in a competition to design a logo for the Hoppa and the winning design was printed on our vests. We had some fantastic entries and the winner was a fabulous green grasshopper – perfect!
We launched on 24 May 2013 at a celebration supported by Mirfield and Kirklees Mayors and our MP and music and entertainment from a ‘Pied Piper’ story-teller. The launch featured in all the local papers and I regularly give live interviews on BBC Radio Leeds, talking about the Hoppa.
The Hoppa is so simple!!
We operate a rota of parents who walk the children on the ten minute route, showing them how use pavements, walk sensibly and cross roads safely. We cut quite a dash in our bright vests! The Hoppa children, aged from four to 11, ALL play together as we congregate and then walk hand-in-hand, making new friends.
The Crowlees Hoppa is sustainable, green, revolutionary, engages the children and teaches them lifesaving road safety skills, promotes fitness and friendships, moves cars away from the school entrance and allows families to work together.