Pupils from Didsbury hosted Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham this week (Thursday 7 November) and shared the story of how they’ve reduced congestion and improved road safety outside their school.
Traffic congestion and unacceptable driver behaviour was negatively impacting Beaver Road Primary School pupils before they organised a campaign to address it.
Working with Living Streets, pupils took part in a School Route Audit to assess the conditions for walking and cycling. Pupils noted that cars were pulling up on zig zag lines and parking on the pavement, preventing families from travelling in a healthy and active way.
Complete with banners, 3D models and Living Streets’ mascot, the pupils protested outside the school and spoke to parents about the importance of travelling actively.
Following the pupils’ intervention and taking part in WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge from Living Streets - the number of children travelling actively to school rose to 87 per cent at the end of the last academic year.
As a result of the work the children had done, they were invited to speak at the Greater Manchester Moving event. Mayor Burnham was so impressed by the children that he came to speak with them and promised to visit them to find out more.
It’s inspiring to see pupils at Beaver Road Primary School taking a stand for road safety, air quality, and the wellbeing of their peers and parents. We want to see as many people as possible walking and cycling to school and work in our city region. Here in Didsbury the kids at Beaver Road have identified a problem, they’ve done their research, and they’ve made a difference. They’ve shown a real sense of responsibility for their local area, and I want to give them my full support.
Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:
“I’m delighted that Andy Burnham was able to join us to hear more about the fantastic initiative these pupils have shown to improve their walk to school.
"We’re all becoming more aware of how air pollution and road danger affect our children’s lives. We need to make it easier for families to swap to healthier forms of travel and the support for WOW in Greater Manchester goes a long way to achieving this.
"Nationally, 41 per cent of children are driven to school. In schools adopting WOW this is much lower. And at Beaver Road Primary School, just 12 per cent of pupils are now dropped off at the school gates, making the approach to school much safer and more pleasant. They are a great example of what is possible when walking and cycling is prioritised.”