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Swap the school run for a school stride

Living Streets says swapping four wheels for two feet can help make children happier and healthier as well as reducing congestion

Posted by Stephanie Broad | May 03, 2016 | Health & wellbeing

Schools become healthier and happier places when children walk to school. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that children are active for 60 minutes a day but only one fifth of five to 15 year-olds are achieving this. Walking to school is a free, accessible and easy way for children to build more exercise into their day.     

Physically active children are more alert, ready to learn and achieve better grades than those who are driven. Plus, during morning peak traffic times, one in five cars on the road are taking children to school, so the more children walking, the less congestion and pollution there is on local roads, making school gates a safer place. 

Despite these benefits, the number of children walking to school is in serious decline. A generation ago, 70% of us walked to school – now it’s less than half. With reduced walking rates we’ve seen an increase in children leaving primary school obese or overweight. The school run alone is responsible for generating two million tonnes of CO2 per annum contributing to air pollution. 

The good news is that together we’ve got the means to change this decline. We are Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking and we've got a big ambition: that every child that can, walks to school by 2025.

We want to make walking to school the norm again and a part of everyday routines. Here’s how you can join us. 

Walk to school with Living Streets 

Our groundbreaking Walk once a Week scheme (WoW) has been going strong for 20 years and last year we inspired over one million children in 4,000 schools across the UK to walk to school. 

WoW rewards children who walk to school at least once a week with monthly collectable badges, made from recycled yoghurt pots, which are designed by pupils in our annual design competition.

All our materials are designed to make running WoW as fun and as easy as possible

for teachers and, on average, it takes only 10 minutes a day to record how pupils have travelled to school and reward the little striders. 

WoW is proven to significantly increase walking rates; in the primary schools we work with, we typically see a 23% increase in the number of children walking to school, along with a corresponding drop in car use. 

And for families who can’t walk all the way to school we encourage them to Park and Stride. By parking a short distance away from the school, children and parents can still get active for part of their journey. Living Streets has helped schools set up successful park and stride schemes with local businesses, helping form positive relationships with the local community. 

Take part in something great

Let’s work together to redefine a generation’s notion of transport. Let’s get children walking

to school. Together we can make a real, lasting difference to our children, our local environment and our wider community. 

Walk to school with Living Streets. A simple way to improve your pupils’ wellbeing.


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