Parent and two children walking

There isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to helping schools increase their walking rates.

Here's how WOW - our year-round walk to school challenge mixed with Park and Stride is helping pupils across Greater Manchester take to their feet. 

 

WOW
Beaumont Primary School pupils

Working together to get the job done

Beaumont Primary School in Bolton was experiencing chaos at the school gates. Issues with parking had seen a fire engine obstructed during an emergency callout to the adjacent school, St Bernard’s Primary, and having the two schools on the same site was compounding congestion problems. 

Beaumont Primary School started taking part in WOW - our year-round walk to school challenge to help alleviate the problems, and they brought St Bernard’s Primary along for the walk.

Taking steps together

The local community centre kindly offered their car park during drop off and pick up times - a Park and Stride scheme was born.

Families could now park up away from the school and walk the rest of the way, reducing congestion and helping pupils enjoy a sociable walk before the start of the school day.

The school hosted Wellbeing Week in February, which included visits from Guide Dogs, their local PCSO and Olympic medallist Beth Tweddle. During the week, Living Streets’ mascot Strider joined 70 pupils from both schools for a walk from the Park and Stride site. It provided the perfect opportunity to promote the scheme to more families, contributing to the huge shift away from families driving all the way to the school.

The results

% pupils travelling actively to school Before WOW vs After

Before

29.8%

After

84%

We needed to take action to ensure our children were safe outside the school gates. Parents were reluctant to park away from school, but the children wanted to earn their WOW badges so they were the ones encouraging them to use the Park and Stride instead.

Jodie Myers, Teacher, Beaumont Primary School

Pupils take the lead

Situated on a narrow residential street, English Martyrs RC Primary School in Trafford also had issues with congestion.

Pupils on the school council were concerned by it and the related issues of families not walking to school including a lack of physical activity, poor air quality and reduced road safety.

So they decided to do something about it.

Walking legs

Problem

The school council investigated why families don't walk and found that many parents say they drive because they have to travel on to work.

Solution = Park and Stride

Children could be dropped off at a designated site and walk the rest of the way. 

School gates would be clear of traffic and toxic fumes whilst parents could be back at their car and off to work in the time they would have been sitting in traffic.

Park and Stride Week

The local park provided parking facilities and the school council organised 'Park and Stride Week' to raise awareness of the scheme. 

They sent letters to parents and got backing from the governors. They wanted to send a clear message to parents: if you have to drive to school, park away from the school gates. 

The results

Over 30 families took part each day during Park and Stride Week.

As an existing WOW school, English Martyrs RC Primary School already had an active travel rate of 85%. By the end of the year’s Park and Stride Week, this had increased to an incredible 92%

Park and Stride Week demonstrated how important communicating alternatives to parents is to success. By putting the power in the pupils’ hands, they were able change travel behaviour for the better and for the benefit of them and their classmates.  

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.