Celebrating Walk to School Month


As we begin International Walk to School Month, October marks an opportunity to encourage thousands of youngsters to celebrate the walk to school.

Promoted by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, this year they will celebrate their 90th anniversary, so the theme will take pupils on a special walking journey re-tracing the steps of their greatest achievements over the course of the last 90 years.

Teachers have an important role to play too, as they can actively look to inspire more youngsters to swap the morning car journey for one involving their own two feet.

According to the National Travel Survey in 2017, an estimated 53% of pupils in England regularly walk to school, although that figure is lower than in previous generations.

In a bid to encourage more children to walk, Living Streets want councils to tackle congestion and pollution outside schools.

The charity’s head of policy and communication, Tanya Brawn, said local authorities should pilot road closures near schools at peak times to encourage people to walk.

“We want to see more local authorities working with schools to reduce the number of cars around school gates, helping to improve air quality, reduce congestion and increase road safety during peak times,” she explained.

Research from YouGov reveals that too many cars are a factor that parents find most annoying when on the school run – 54% report too many cars near the school gates, while half say parking on pavements is also an issue.

Removing these factors should, therefore, make the school run safer for children, while teachers can also look to encourage more walking by setting fun tasks and activities.

For instance, primary school teachers can encourage their classes to count how many animals they see on their walk to school, or even how many sweet shops they pass.

Whatever they are asked to spot, it’s also an opportunity to discuss road safety, aspects of nature and the world around them, and even the impact of humans on the environment.

Walking can also help to boost health, and with technology existing today that can count steps and measure exercise, children can also actively see the benefits of walking more.