Parent and two children walking

Students around the world have been walking out on strike to demand action on climate change. This is a story of how pupils in Didsbury also decided to protest, however for them it involved walking in, not walking out. 

WOW
protest sign

Pupils taking action

Beaver Road Primary School was working towards its Unicef Rights Respecting Award, whereby children identify an issue that’s negatively impacting on them and organise a campaign to address it.

For pupils at Beaver Road, traffic congestion and unacceptable parent behaviour were their priorities. 

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Working with Living Streets, the children took part in a School Route Audit where they assessed the conditions for walking and cycling to a new school site that was opening. This second site would take the roll call to over 700 pupils, increasing risks of congestion, road danger and poor air quality.

On the audit, the children noted the good (wide pavements, beautiful old trees), the bad (bollards blocking the pavement making it difficult for people with buggies or wheelchairs) and the ugly (cars pulling up on zig zag lines outside the school and parking on the pavement).

Concluding that these barriers were preventing families from travelling in a healthy and active way, the pupils decided to protest.

school audit

Pupil Protest

Complete with banners, 3D models and Living Streets’ mascot, Strider, the pupils protested outside the school.

They spoke with parents caught driving on zig zag lines and parking on the pavement, reminding them of the importance of travelling actively and safely.

The event was a huge success with support from many parents.

Following the pupils’ intervention and taking part in WOW – our year-round walk to school challenge - the number of children travelling actively to school rose to 87%.

Impressing the Mayor

As a result of the work the children had done completing a School Route Audit, organising and promoting their Pupil Protest, and sending a clear message to parents about their travel behaviour, they were invited to the Greater Manchester Moving event to introduce the keynote speaker, Mayor Andy Burnham.

Each child spoke with confidence and clarity, encouraging attendees to return to their colleagues and communities and encourage them to travel more actively. Mayor Burnham was so impressed by the children that he came to speak with them and is joining them for a walk to school soon. 

 

Andy Burnham

WOW is delivered in Greater Manchester in partnership with TfGM as part of the Walk to School Outreach project, funded by the Department for Transport.