Image demonstrating Northumberland schools step up to the challenge

Northumberland schools step up to the challenge

Northumberland schools have once again stepped up to the challenge during national Walk to School Week.  

A total of 32 Northumberland schools and nearly 5,500 pupils have taken part in the initiative which is organised nationally by Living Streets - a charity which aims to help people of all generations enjoy the benefits of walking.

Each year schools across the country take part in the week-long challenge to encourage parents and pupils to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or scoot to school, wherever this is possible.

Schools receive wall charts and diaries to use during the week and other information and resources which help them to enjoy a healthy daily walk to school.

Reducing the number of cars on the school run also improves air quality by lowering the levels of harmful emissions in the atmosphere, making the air cleaner for us all to breathe.  Air pollution is linked to asthma and breathing problems in children and causes up to 36,000 early deaths a year in the UK.

Northburn Primary School in Cramlington is one of the 32 schools in Northumberland taking part in Walk to School Week.  

The school is very active in promoting sustainable travel to and from school, and is also taking part in WOW the Living Streets year round challenge - where pupils are rewarded for walking, cycling or scooting to school at least once per week.

They applied for and were awarded funding from the healthy pupil fund and with it have developed new parking and storage spaces for 40 to 50 bikes and scooters.

Tony Hall, deputy headteacher at the school, said:  “We are very keen to encourage as many children as possible to walk, scoot or cycle to school.  This is better for their health, good for their learning, and helpful to the local environment, road safety and traffic management.

“Within school we speak to the children about these benefits, and pupils can earn reward badges by walking, cycling or scooting to school each week.

“We also work closely with the local community to encourage safe and sustainable travel and have for example been working with the local sports and community centre to establish a ‘park and stride’ route from their car parking area to the school.”

Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said:  “Walking to school is a brilliant way to get active and healthy. It’s also a great opportunity for children to learn vital road safety skills and make sure they’re alert and ready to learn at the start of a new day.

“It’s fantastic that Northburn, like so many Northumberland schools, have got involved and are promoting these benefits to their families.”

Tracy Aitken Northumberland County Council’s Travel Plan Adviser added:  “Walking to school has many benefits including reducing traffic outside our schools and creating a safer environment for those who walk or cycle.”

Through Go Smarter Northumberland the council works with schools across the county to promote active travel for the journey to school.
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