School family

We want as many children as possible walking to school. As a new school year starts in England and Wales this week, Charlotte McHugh, our Project Manager for Greater Manchester, takes us through some of her favourite stories of children swapping the school run for a school walk.

Image of Charlotte McHugh

From September, over 100 primary schools across Greater Manchester will have the opportunity to take part in WOW, our year-round walk to school challenge.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing WOW increase walking rates in schools across Greater Manchester exponentially over recent years and can’t wait to see how the new schools benefit.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to helping children walk more. Each school has different issues and needs different types of support to create a cleaner, greener school run.  

Here are some of the interventions we’ve used alongside WOW to help more children walk to school in Greater Manchester and beyond.

Swapping the school run for a school walk in...

Bolton and Urmston

In Bolton, two schools partnered up to tackle their school gate congestion after a fire engine was obstructed during an emergency callout. They created a Park and Stride scheme – where families park a 10-minute walk away from the school and complete the journey on foot - and experienced a huge shift away from families driving all the way to the school.

Whilst in Urmston, it was pupils who took the reins to turn the congestion problems around at their school, organising a Park and Stride Week to send a clear message to parents that if they had to drive to school, they should park away from the school gates. The result? 92% of families travelling actively to school by the end of the week.  

More on how these pupils started striding


Across in Didsbury, pupils were also taking matters into their own hands. As students around the world were walking out on strike to demand action on climate change, these pupils were walking in. Complete with banners, 3D models and Living Streets’ mascot, Strider, the pupils protested outside the school, speaking to parents caught driving on zig zag lines and parking on the pavement.

Following the pupils’ intervention, the number of children travelling actively to school rose to an incredible 87%.

More on Didsbury's determination


Over in West Yorkshire, a school was facing the problem of a broken-down walking bus. On top of this, the school had a large carpark which meant nothing stood in the way of parents jumping in the car. As a result, more than half of the journeys to the school were inactive and congestion and pollution were mounting up at the school gates.

Putting pen to paper, pupils at the school started to get creative to turn things around. 


More on tackling car domination in Elland

Over 100 primary schools in Greater Manchester will be engaged as part of the Walk to School Outreach project, funded by the Department for Transport to help support the Government’s target to increase the number of children walking to school to 55% by 2025.


Working with six project partners, including Transport for Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, we’ll deliver a range of interventions to encourage and enable children across the country to walk to school.

To help this, a select number of schools will also be offered tailored support, including School Route Audits, pupil campaigns and the introduction of Park and Stride.

Find out more