PUPILS from a small South Lakeland primary school put pedal to the metal as they beat off competition from across the country to win a national travel-to-school award.

The Big Pedal, sponsored by sustainable transport charity Sustrans, encour-aged whole families to travel to school by bike or scooter.

Each journey earned points, which were entered daily into a website database by year five and six pupils.

Beetham CofE primary school, near Milnthorpe, made a total of 525 journeys over a two-week period.

As a result, they finished with the highest points total in the Small Primary category – open for schools with fewer than 150 pupils.

The school had whole families travelling to school by bike, with adults scooting and younger brothers and sisters coming on all sorts of push-a-longs and balance bikes. Staff were also heavily involved.

“The challenge looks at sustainable transport and we are really focused on sport and keeping healthy here,” said headteacher Wendy Nicholas.

“It gained momentum fast - when other children saw their friends arriving by bike they were motivated to do the same.

“The first day there was 37 journeys but by the last day there was 74.

“It created a real buzz in the school and everyone was really enthusiastic.

“We have noticed a real difference with the children - they were more alert in classes.

“It’s absolutely outstanding to finish so highly.”

Other schools which took part from the region were St Oswald’s CofE, at Burneside, St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Ulver-ston, Dean Gibson Catholic Primary School and Heron Hill Primary School, Kendal, Warcop Primary, Storth School, Queen Katherine School and Dowdales School, Dalton.

“This is fantastic news and I want to pay tribute to the pupils, staff and parents for this fantastic achievement,” said South Lakes MP Tim Farron.

“The Big Pedal is a great way to get more pupils cycling to and from school.”

Pupils also dressed up as superheroes on the final day to raise money for Sustrans.