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Pupils celebrate Walk to School Week at Scottish Parliament

Ariane Burgess (MSP), Mark Ruskell (MSP) & Foysol Choudhury (MSP) with Strider & Children

Ariane Burgess MSP, Mark Ruskell MSP & Foysol Choudhury MSP with Strider and pupils

Pupils from Abbeyhill Primary, Edinburgh joined MSPs outside Scottish Parliament to celebrate Walk to School Week on Wednesday (22 May 2024).

Walk to School Week is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking as part of their National Walking Month campaign each May.

Families are encouraged to walk, wheel, cycle, scoot or ‘Park and Stride’ for the whole week to see the big differences that come from small steps, from healthier and happier children to fewer cars outside the school gates.

Last year, over 200,000 pupils across the UK took part in Walk to School Week, with this year looking to be bigger than ever. 

This year's challenge, The Magic of Walking, encourages children to travel actively to school every day of the week. Meeting various magical beings along the way, children are learning about how active travel benefits individuals, communities and the planet.

Abbeyhill Primary, Edinburgh is one of over 200 schools in Scotland taking part in WOW – the walk to school challenge from Living Streets. An additional 180 schools in Scotland have signed up to receive special Walk to School Week packs to celebrate the week.

Pupils at the city school have achieved over 90 per cent active travel rates, as recorded on the WOW Travel Tracker. They celebrated Walk to School Week at the Scottish Parliament with Living Streets’ mascot, Strider and MSPs.

New research released for Walk to School Week finds that found that “unsafe driving speeds” is a major reason parents in Scotland don’t walk their kids to school (25%). Other reasons included parents’ lack of time (27%), lack of safe crossings (18%) and cluttered pavements (13%).

The survey, commissioned by Living Streets asked parents/carers of 5–11-year-olds in Scotland about their attitudes towards walking to school. Parents were particularly worried about the safety of the school gates, with a third (30%) saying they find it unsafe.

But there are also clear advantages when children do walk. Parents and carers were also asked what benefits their child experiences from walking regularly. Respondents answered physical health benefits (73%), improved wellbeing (69%), quality time spent with family (61%) and improved road safety skills (46%).

Chris Thompson, Interim co-director, Living Streets Scotland said:

“Walk to School Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the strides pupils across Scotland are taking to get more active on the journey to school, helping to reduce congestion, pollution and road danger along the way.

“We know that the school run can be hectic but swapping the last ten minutes sitting in traffic for a walk instead brings a host of benefits. We hope this week inspires others to give walking to school a go to see how it can fit into their everyday.”

MSPs with pupils

About the author

Kathryn Shaw

Head of Communications and Marketing, Living Streets / [email protected]