If you’re a parent or carer there are lots of ways we can help get you and your family walking. We can also help make walking safer and easier in your neighbourhood and get more children at your kids’ school walking.
"We’ve helped to set up a Park & Stride at a local supermarket so that pupils who arrive by car can still make an active trip and help to reduce congestion around the school gates."
Dom Jacques - Moortown Living Streets Group
Children who do some form of exercise, especially a walk before school, arrive refreshed, fit and ready to learn.
One in five cars during the morning rush hour are taking children to school - the school run alone is responsible for generating two million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. By walking to school just once per week you can help improve the quality of air your child is growing up in.
The Walk to school is another opportunity for your child to learn road safety.
We know that changing the school runs to school walks is not always a simple switch. It may be that you have children at different schools, a job to get to, you live too far away.
Below are some ways you might be able to make the switch from the school run to a school walk.
Walk to School myth buster
‘Driving to school keeps my child safe’
If more cars are driving past the school gate and reversing in out of school parking spaces, there will be an increase in traffic and the roads around the school perimeter will be less safe.
‘Most children live too far away from school’
The average primary school is a 20-minute walk from home. Families who live further away could try a Park and Stride scheme, and drive them part of the way.
‘Walking to school will make my child tired’
Research has shown that children who do some form of exercise, especially a walk before school, arrive fit, refreshed, ready to learn and do better in class.
‘There is more risk of stranger danger’
We know that stranger danger will always be a worry for parents. But if children are taught good road safety from an early age, it can help to reduce fears by allowing children to get to know neighbouring children, parents, their houses and the local community.
‘I save time driving my child to school’
Are you guilty of leaving home early and waiting by the school gates to make sure you get a car parking space? By the time you have sat waiting for the gates to open or looking for a space to park, your child could have walked to school. Avoid sitting in traffic and use the time to walk to school with your child and spend quality time together.
‘Driving to school with my child is better for their health as they are less exposed to air pollution’
In fact air pollution is much (up to 9–12 times) higher in cars compared to outside the car, and the benefits of walking far outweigh the cost of breathing in pollution.
'I live too far from school to walk'
If you drive to school, you could Park and Stride. Find somewhere suitable to park at least a 10 minute walk from school and complete your journey on foot.
If you take public transport, how about getting off a couple of stops earlier and walking the rest of the way?
'It rains too much'
Break out your wellies and waterproofs and see how much fun your children have splashing in the puddles. It’s not about the weather; it’s about what you wear!
'The roads are too dangerous for children'
Use the walk to school as an opportunity to teach your child about road safety and help them to build their confidence in managing risk.
Work with other parents or your school to ask the local council to improve safety by installing safe crossings and introducing 20mph speed limits.
Do you struggle to find safe footpaths? Is it easy to cross the road? Is walking to school safe for you child?
Our nifty Rate Your Walk tool is a simple way for you to find out how your walk measures up.
And we can give you ideas on how to make your walk to school safer and easier.
It takes just a few seconds to rate your walk, and after you’ve answered a few questions we’ll calculate your route’s walkability score and offer you some tips on what you can do about it.