Bradford school children put best foot forward for Walk to School Week
24 May 2019
Pupils at Margaret McMillan Primary School in Bradford have been celebrating the strides they have made to improve their health and reduce congestion outside the school gates as part of national Walk to School Week (20 -24 May).
Representatives from Living Streets, the UK charity behind the walk to school campaign, including its mascot Strider, were on hand to welcome parents and pupils arriving by school on foot today (Friday 24 May).
Margaret McMillan Primary School takes part in WOW – Living Streets year-round challenge, which rewards children who walk to school at least once a week with collectable badges and has been shown to increase walk to school rates by 23 per cent, helping reduce congestion at the school gates.
Sarah Johnson, a teacher at the school, said: “Our children love completing the WOW Travel Tracker each day, and we have really noticed an increase in the number of children walking to school and encouraging their parents to walk as well. The children love receiving the colourful badges as a reward.”
The school has also received support through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to travel by bike or on foot.
Alongside cycling skills sessions for pupils, including children learning to ride for the first time on a fleet of balance bikes, teachers at the school have also received training on planning and delivering activities, thanks to CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “I am so pleased schools such as Margaret McMillan have been able to benefit from the support the Combined Authority and Living Streets are able to offer.
“We know addressing air quality and childhood obesity is absolutely vital to help make our cities healthier places for our children to live in.
“Together Living Streets and CityConnect are working to ensure the school’s pupils – and the commuters of the future - enjoy active, healthy and pollution-free travel.”
Gillian Brown, Development Manager at Active Bradford, said: “Margaret McMillan Primary School is a great example of what schools in Bradford have been involved in recently to encourage families to actively travel to school.
“Active Bradford has a vision of a healthy and prosperous Bradford where everyone chooses to make physical activity an everyday part of their lives and we are delighted to see a national charity working with our schools for the benefit of our children.”
Through the Bike Friendly Schools scheme, which is targeted at schools on or near to CityConnect cycle routes, pupils can access a bike and free cycle training, with funding available for bike and scooter parking, as well as free training for staff to plan and deliver activities – all with the aim of helping more pupils and teachers make more journeys by bike.
The scheme is run in partnership with Bradford-based BeCycling, with more than 50% of pupils who go through the scheme learning to ride for the first time.
From learning to ride for the first time to making the journey to secondary school by bike, pupils from 29 schools across West Yorkshire have received support through the scheme and nearly 120 extra bike and scooter parking places have been installed at participating schools.
Through the CityConnect programme and in partnership with others, the Combined Authority is not only building new cycling and walking routes and improving existing infrastructure, it also offers a range of free services, including route information, online cycle challenges and support for businesses.