Striding into walk to school month
01 Oct 2019
October is International Walk to School Month, and young people across Northumberland will be pulling on their coats and boots and getting active on the school run - helping to reduce congestion, improving road safety and air quality.
The special month was launched for the county at Stannington First School (on Monday 30 September) when Cllr Wayne Daley, deputy leader and cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council, visited the school to hear about the activities they will be taking part in.
UK charity Living Streets is behind the walk to school campaign, and their mascot ‘Strider’ also made an appearance and met pupils during the day.
Stannington First School already takes part in WOW - the year-round walk to school challenge from Living Streets, and ask parents to 'Park and Stride' from either the nearby church car park, or the village, rather than parking outside the school. Pupils who walk at least three days each week for a month also receive a WOW badge.
The school recently won the Best Schools Sustainable Travel Project category at the LOVE Northumberland Awards for Walking Rocks initiative. To make the journey to school even more interesting teachers have decorated rocks and hidden them around the village for pupils to discover on the way to and from school.
Alexandra Palmer, headteacher at Stannington First School said: “Stannington First School is taking part in International Walk to School month and has a range of activities planned, during October, to encourage our pupils to walk, scoot, cycle or even ‘Park and Stride’ to school.
“We're stepping out this week with Happy Shoesday when everyone will be wearing their happiest shoes to come to school and we will also be taking part in a mass 'Welly Walk' through the village.
“Over the next four weeks our pupils will be joining in with Wheely Wednesdays, High Vis Hikes and practical road safety sessions, alongside many other activities, all with the aim of encouraging as many pupils as possible to walk to school.”
During October Stannington will also be promoting the Northumberland Smarter Parker Campaign, raising awareness of the dangers which inconsiderate parking near schools can cause, and asking everyone to be a smarter parker.
Councillor Daley said: “
There are some fantastic things planned at Stannington during walk to school month and I have been extremely impressed by the enthusiasm of students and staff to make real changes here.
“As well as being sustainable and making travel safer, walking or cycling or scooting to school are also amazing ways to protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions. Simple things make a huge difference and climate care is something that the council has a very strong focus on.
“I look forward to finding out more about all of the activities across Northumberland during International Walk to School Month.”
Jenny Wiles, Director (North), Living Streets added: “
Walking to school is a great way for children to fit more activity into their day and spend time with friends and family, all whilst reducing polluting vehicles and road danger outside the school gates.
“We’re thrilled that so many children in Northumberland are joining in with pupils across the UK – and the world – to celebrate International Walk to School Month
As the nights draw in, towards the end of the month, schools will be looking at the importance of wearing bright reflective clothing to help them stay safe on their journey to school through the 'Be Safe be Seen' campaign, and Stannington pupils will be invited to a Hi-Vis Hike.
Many schools across Northumberland have signed up to the awareness month and will be taking part in a wide range of travel and road safety initiatives.
Watch out for activities at your local school.