New video commentaries covering four decades of research

The Policy Studies Institute has filmed a series of 8 short video commentaries by Mayer Hillman. They will cover the main themes of Mayer’s research since 1970, including:

  • Making the most of daylight hours
  • Cycling – one of the greatest inventions of all time
  • Climate change
  • Children’s independent mobility
  • The efficacy of cycle helmet wearing

Camden should stick to its guns

The attractions for parents of being free to choose the school they wish their child to attend are obvious, not least in the hope of advancing the child’s academic prospects. However, as their decision usually leads to the selection of a more distant school that can only be conveniently reached by car, regard must be paid to the wider social and environmental effects. Recognition of these largely explains why, four years ago, Camden, with all-party support, adopted its policy of aiming to discourage car use on the school run. State schools deliberately prioritise admission in favour of local children who can walk to them. Continue reading

Are we developing battery-reared or free-range children?

Keynote paper for seminar in Perth, Western Australia, organised by WAPAC.

A very good morning to you! I must say at the outset that it is very strange for me to be making this presentation without even knowing what the weather is like outside or how many of you there are out there. Strange too to realise that as you hear me, I am on the other side of the planet just after midnight, hopefully fast asleep! Continue reading

The school run

Memorandum prepared for the scrutiny panel of the London Borough of Camden.

For much of the working day, many areas of Camden have severe problems of traffic congestion, road danger and pollution. There are also insufficient places to park vehicles to match the demand. These problems are most acute in Hampstead during the school term. A major explanation is that this part of the Borough has a remarkably high and probably unique density of schools which provide education for a substantial population of schoolchildren living beyond what could be described as a conventional school catchment area. Those affected include residents living in properties adjacent to the roads that are used most intensively, other road users, especially pedestrians, as well as .the drivers of the vehicles who contribute to these adverse effects. Continue reading

The other environment for learning

All political parties see education as the domain of public policy deserving a high if not top place on their agendas. New Labour, with its oft-repeated mantra of the last few months of ‘Education, Education, Education’ as its priority, has indicated that it looks forward to being especially remembered for having markedly raised standards in schools during its term of office. Continue reading

More daylight, healthier children

The option of putting the clock forward one hour ahead of its current setting (to GMT plus one hour in the winter and GMT plus two hours in the summer) is now the subject of public debate. The Government is likely to soon reach a decision on this proposition originally made in 1988 following the publication of research showing that the advantages of such a change would far outweigh the disadvantages. In 1989, it was also the subject of a Home Office consultation paper in which the acronym SDST (Single/Double Summer Time) was used to refer to this particular change to the clock. Among its wide range of benefits identified for the general population is the particular improvement that it would bring for children by reducing road accidents among them, increasing their opportunities for outdoor activity, and enhancing their health and the quality of their lives. Continue reading