Pupils in Perth and Kinross have been celebrating the strides they’ve made to get more active on the school run.
Living Streets Scotland, part of the UK charity for everyday walking, has partnered with Perth and Kinross Council to launch WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge aimed at encouraging and enable more children and their families to walk to school.
Pupils at Letham Primary School were joined by Strider, Living Streets’ mascot and Councillor Lewis Simpson, Active Travel Ambassador for Perth and Kinross Council to celebrate the launch (Monday 25 February).
WOW is Living Streets Scotland’s award-winning behaviour change scheme. WOW is currently running in 26 primary schools across Perth and Kinross, together with over 210 schools across Scotland in the mission to increase active travel to school.
I intend to encourage all schools in our area to participate in initiatives to promote active travel and to discourage the poor air quality, traffic congestion and dangerous parking caused by the car school run.
With WOW, pupils log their daily journeys to school on the WOW Travel Tracker. Those who walk to school at least once a week for a month earn a WOW badge, which has been designed by pupils in a UK-wide competition and made from recycled yoghurt pot material.
Schools which take part in WOW see a 23 per cent increase in pupils walking to school on average and a corresponding drop in car use; reducing congestion outside the school gates and increasing safety.
Perth and Kinross schools are doing so well with the WOW programme that four of the schools took top spots in Living Street Scotland’s National Walk of Fame competition. The Walk of Fame sees schools compete against each other to be the most active. Arngask, Meigle, St Ninians and Pitcarin Primary schools all featured in the top 10.
To celebrate Perth and Kinross Council’s commitment to WOW, Strider, Living Streets’ mascot will be taking a mini tour of schools that are taking part and will be doing assemblies highlighting the benefits of walking. Strider will be encouraging the pupils to keep active and continue on the mission of making walking to school the everyday choice.
Strider and Living Streets joined Letham Primary School first on Monday (25 February 2019) to launch WOW. The children were joined by Councillor Lewis Simpson, who is the Active Travel Ambassador for Perth and Kinross Council.
Councillor Lewis Simpson said:
“As the Perth and Kinross Council Active Travel Ambassador I am delighted to have cycled here to Letham Primary School and to hear from the pupils, teachers and parents about both the benefits and barriers to walking to school.
“I intend to encourage all schools in our area to participate in initiatives to promote active travel and to discourage the poor air quality, traffic congestion and dangerous parking caused by the car school run.”
Headteacher, Arngask Primary School said:
“The children at Argnask enjoy taking part in the Living Streets and recording their journey to school on the online Travel Tracker. It has become part of our daily routine.
“The number of pupils selecting the Park and Stride has increased over time as more parents are using this option, given our pupils’ desire to have a healthier journey to school. We are delighted to be one of the top performing schools in Perth and Kinross.”
This partnership with Living Streets Scotland is supported by Perth and Kinross Council and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding, managed by Paths for All.
Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:
“Walking to school is an easy and accessible way for children to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives, helping them arrive fit, refreshed and ready to learn.
“Walking to school is also a great way for children to learn vital road safety skills and build lifelong healthy habits.
“We’re thrilled to have more Scotland schools on board; I’m sure it will make a huge difference to their pupils’ health and happiness.”