Last month Haworth Primary School children and parents got more spring in their step by walking, scooting or cycling to school as part of our local Active Travel Week (19-23 March).
Ahead of this month's Big Pedal our Bradford Schools Officer Ian Cullen encouraged children to get active on their daily commutes. He ran a school assembly to promote the activities as well as a Dr Bike repair day and a series of ‘Safe Routes to School’ sessions for the older children.
Active travellers to school (by foot, scooter or bike) received a raffle ticket for each day. This also included those would drove and walked a 10 minute journey which was popular for families and carers who struggle to find time to walk children to school, and travel on to work.
The school had a celebration assembly and a prize draw. Prizes included a JD Bug scooter, cycle helmet, cycle gloves and some of our very own goody bags.
Head Teacher Helen Thompson was impressed with how the week went said:
"We are really grateful to Sustrans for their support in working with all of the classes over this half term. The children have thoroughly enjoyed learning about healthy and environmentally responsible ways of travelling to school in the build up to our active travel week.
“Despite some inclement weather, we saw a positive increase in the number of children walking for some or all of their journey to school each day. We hope that this positive change enabled pupils to explore key features of our local environment, whilst also enjoying the many benefits of a daily walk to school. Our active travel has definitely put a spring in everyone's step! "
It also had a big impact on the school children. All the children who were asked said they preferred walking to school over travelling by car. Sammy from Year 4 said:
“Walking to school in the morning wakes me up and I’m ready for the day.”
We are working in Bradford schools to help tackle childhood obesity. Nationally and in Bradford childhood obesity levels are at a record high. Figures from Bradford’s Public Health team in 2014 showed that 20.6% of children in year 6 were classified as obese, growing up to develop poor health habits and weight problems. Deprivation is higher than average in Bradford with about 25.5% (30,700) children living in poverty in 2014, while life expectancy for both men and women was lower than the England average.
The Department of Heath recommends that all children engage in one hour’s physical exercise every day. Travelling to school actively is one way to achieve this. We are working with Haworth Primary to focus more on active travel for school children in the summer term.