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Tullygally PS pupils take the plunge and ditch bus for bikes

'I don’t know of any other school where a whole class can use bicycles to travel for swimming lessons and other activities'

Pupils at a school in Craigavon have been getting on their bikes in a unique initiative to improve their health, save money and protect the environment.

Children from Tullygally Primary School have been cycling to and from swimming classes and sporting events instead of relying on the school bus.

The change has been made under the guidance of Primary 7 teacher John O’Hagan, and with support from staff and parents.

Mr O’Hagan sourced funding to buy 30 refurbished bikes, helmets and a storage facility and the pupils have been using the network of lanes known locally as the ‘black paths’.

“Each bike and helmet is named after a different county on the island of Ireland so that pupils know which bike they have been getting used to riding,” he said.

“Some of the pupils weren’t confident at riding their bikes at first but when we loaned them out to pupils over a weekend it really helped them to improve their skills.”

Local Sustrans schools officer Dave Wiggins recently joined Mr O’Hagan and the pupils for a cycle to South Lakes Leisure Centre.

He said: “It was brilliant to see the pupils and teachers using bicycles to travel to the leisure centre instead of hiring a bus.

“It is a great opportunity for the pupils to explore their local area, get some fresh air, improve their health and develop their independent travel skills.

“Central Craigavon is a very busy area for traffic and projects like this help to reduce congestion and protect the air quality as much as possible.

“I don’t know of any other school where a whole class can use bicycles to travel for swimming lessons and other activities and the school should be highly commended for their effort.”

Tullygally Primary started working with Sustrans as part of the Active School Programme in 2014.

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