With Walk to School Week (17–21 May) almost here, we take a look at how one of our walking schemes benefitted pupils at a school in Cardiff.
Back in 2019, Living Streets Cymru launched WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge – to schools in Wales at Ysgol Glan Morfa in Cardiff. Bilingual resources are available which allows all pupils in Wales to take part.
With WOW, pupils record their journeys to school daily on the interactive WOW Travel Tracker. Those who walk to school at least once a week for a month are awarded a WOW badge, 11 of which can be collected throughout the year. All badges are made in the UK from repurposed material.
Walking to school is an easy and accessible way for children to move more, whilst also helping to reduce congestion and air pollution around the school gates. In primary schools, WOW sees walking rates increase on average by 23% and is met with a corresponding drop in car use.
Despite the benefits, only 44% of primary school aged children in Wales walk to school. Walking not only helps keep children keep fit and maintain a healthy weight, but is also good for their mood, concentration and creativity.
Ysgol Glan Morfa took part in WOW during the spring and summer terms 2019 and was the first school in Wales to use the Welsh language version of the programme. The school ended the year with 71.1% of trips being recorded as active travel but not all classes took part. The whole school baseline was 49% active travel.
Year 1 teacher, Ceri Williams, has only good things to say about the positive impact WOW had on her class pupils.
“My class (year 1) piloted the scheme and the pupils loved using the Travel Tracker every morning after we called the register. The children were pleased if they came to school by walking or using a scooter or bike and encouraged others to do the same. The pupils also liked taking responsibility for recording their progress. There was definitely an increase in those traveling on foot/scooter/bike and the pupils were very pleased to receive the badges. It was good to see the pupils wanting to look after the environment.”