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.
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.
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.
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.