St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in West Yorkshire struggled with high car use.
Their walking bus was no longer running as the families involved in organising it had left the school. And for a small school, they had a very large carpark. Parents took advantage of this and by March 2019, more than half of the journeys to school were inactive.
Our Project Coordinator, Meltem, was on hand to help a group of enthusiastic pupils at St Patrick’s turn things around, using a comprehensive approach.
A Travel Questionnaire was sent to parents to establish their thoughts on the school run.
About a third (36%) of parents walked to school but over two thirds (67%) said they'd prefer to walk. It showed a desire to get active and a suggestion that something stood in their way.
Top reasons for not walking were given as living too far away, not having enough time or having somewhere else to go after.
When asked what they thought they could do to walk more, parents said: leave the house earlier, walk some of the way and not be put off by bad weather.
The parent survey encouraged the school to set up a Park and Stride. It meant that families who lived too far to walk the whole way could park away from the school gates and get active for the last part of the journey.
A small group of pupils took part in workshops where they designed a map to show the walking routes from the new Park and Stride.
Using the answers parents had given in the survey, they also designed Pledge Cards which encouraged parents to say what they were going to do to walk more. Pupils then designed a badge to award parents who walked to school.
To launch the Park & Stride maps and to celebrate Walk to School Week, a group walk was organised. Teachers, parents, pupils and members of the community joined Living Streets’ mascot, Strider for the Park and Stride on 21 May 2019.
It was the perfect chance to celebrate the efforts of the parents, pupils and teachers to increase active travel, and to speak to parents about the benefits of swapping the school run for a school walk.
The event was well-attended and even filmed for ITV News, going on to be shown across many regions.
Walking is good for you because it is better for the planet than driving in a car.
Between September 2018 and March 2019, 56% of school journeys were inactive.
After the Park and Stride launch (21 May 2019 to the end of academic year), this dropped to 35% inactive – with more families instead choosing to walk the whole way or use the Park and Stride.
As the new academic year begins, we’re hopeful that even more families will enjoy using the pupils’ maps and following the same path.