Government supports school cycle and fitness tracks

  • Nikki Kaye

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced a change in how schools can use their capital funding to support building bicycle or fitness tracks at schools.

“We know that cycle tracks have numerous benefits, including helping to develop safe cycling habits and building up confidence and fitness,” Ms Kaye says. “I want to make it easy for schools that want to promote exercise to engage students in lifelong healthy habits that also help with their learning.

“There are already at least 15 schools that have taken up the Bikes in Schools programme and we want more schools to be able to create safe ways of learning the basics of cycling and promoting general exercise. This can be difficult for schools in built-up cities, for examples, primary schools in central Auckland.

“The Ministry of Education has amended policy so that cycle tracks can be funded along with other projects that create modern learning environments from capital funding. The tracks could also be used for general fitness activities such as walking and running.

“Schools’ capital funding will meet up to 50 per cent of the costs of the tracks with the schools funding the other half. This could be through fund raising or co-funding by a range of organisations including philanthropic trusts and sports funders.

“From my discussions with the Bikes in Schools project I know there are other projects in the pipeline that could benefit from confirming this contribution from the Ministry of Education budget.

“Currently there are cycle track projects underway that involve different forms of funding, including philanthropic trust money.

“This confirmation of the change to funding means schools can have certainty that they will be supported in the construction of these cycle and fitness tracks.

“This policy change is about incentivising healthy learning environments.

“The tracks cost between $10,000 and $20,000 to construct and range from 200 to 500 metres around. Maintenance of the track will be covered by the normal funding for maintaining school grounds,” Ms Kaye says.

A school that has used its capital funding to address health and safety concerns and has undertaken all essential infrastructure projects will be able to use residual funding to create cycle or fitness tracks. The change in policy takes effect immediately.