Walking Schools WOWs pupils back for the new term
WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge – encourages primary schoolchildren to walk to school as often as possible, with collectable badges up for grabs to reward pupils for their efforts.
Last year 21 primary schools across Greater Manchester took part – and this year is set to be bigger and better with a further 80 schools signing up to get involved.
One in five cars on the road during the morning rush hour are taking children to school. Nationally, WOW results in a 23% increase in walking rates and 30% fewer cars at the school gates.
Strider – Living Streets' giant foot mascot – joined Broad Oak Primary School pupils in Didsbury, who are taking part this year, at their assembly to celebrate the start of the new school year walking challenge.
Broad Oak Primary School’s Head Teacher, Kevin Corteen, said:
“This is the second year we’ve taken part in the scheme as it’s such a fantastic idea.
“It’s a great way to learn how small steps can lead to a big change. The children love taking part because it’s fun to collect the badges, but they’re also learning to be healthier by walking more as part of their daily routine.
“It also means that we see fewer cars around the school gate at pick-up and drop-off times – so it means it’s now safer on the roads around our school.”
Helen Smith, Head of Logistics, Environment and Active Travel at TfGM said:
“We’re so pleased that even more schools across Greater Manchester have joined up this year.
“Walking is such a simple way to get healthy, and can be easily fitted into people’s everyday lives. To learn that early on gives these pupils a great head start in getting active.
“In the UK more than 10 million children travel to school every morning, with nearly half of those children making that journey by car. This campaign is a brilliant way of encouraging a healthier and more environmentally-friendly way to travel.
“We’re so proud of what we achieved last year with Living Streets and, with even more schools signed up this year, we hope it’ll be another successful year.”
Charlotte McHugh, Project Coordinator, Living Streets, said:
“Walking to school is an easy, free and accessible way for families to get active, and has been shown to improve children’s concentration in class. With more children walking it also means there are fewer cars and traffic jams around schools which is great for the whole community.
“Here at Living Streets, we want to make walking to school the natural choice so that children start developing healthy habits for life.
“We’re thrilled to welcome so many more Greater Manchester schools on board this year and can’t wait to hear what a difference WOW makes to their pupils’ health and happiness.”
TfGM fund Walking Schools, which includes the WOW scheme, from Sustainable Travel Transition Year (STTY) funding, which is provided by the Department for Transport (DfT).