Active Travel to School

Frenchay Primary School promotes walking and cycling because…

It helps keep our children fitter and healthy and research shows being active can help children concentrate better and increase their levels of achievement.

By walking or cycling our school community can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists and easier for local residents.  It also reduces the pollution caused from exhaust fumes helping combat climate change and create cleaner air.

Key facts:

  • One in four cars on the road are on the school run and greenhouse gas emissions from road transport made up around a fifth of the UK’s total GHG emissions.  Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
  • Air pollution causes 64,000 deaths annually in the UK, and a reduction of 1.5 years in average life expectancy. Air pollution affects the rates not just of respiratory diseases but also cardiovascular diseases like heart failure.
  • More than a third of children are overweight (including obese) by the time they leave primary school.  Child obesity strongly indicates to adult obesity – which in turn can lead to poor health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression and premature death.
  • Children and young people aged 13-16 (Years 9-11) are the least likely to be active and travel to and from school can contribute up to half of a young person’s overall physical activity.
  • Just 34% of secondary school children walk to school, and only 3% cycle to school. 

WHY ACTIVE TRAVEL IS IMPORTANT

         1. Cleaner air – reducing cars helps reduce air pollution around the school gates.

  1. Helps tackle climate change – by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cars.
  2. Children and young adults are healthier and fitter – young people should have at least an hour of physical activity every day – walking or cycling to school contributes to this time.
  3. Helps children and young adults unwind at the end of the day – walking or cycling home gives them time to think.
  4. Improves concentration – studies have shown that children who are active are ready to learn and do better in their studies.
  5. Gives children more independence – walking or cycling without parents helps them develop skills for independent living when they are adults.
  6. Reduces congestion – as there are less cars on the road, making it more pleasant environment for everyone.
  7. Quicker than sitting in traffic
  8. Improves road safety at the school gates – because there is reduced traffic and parked cars.
  9. It’s cheaper to walk or cycle – as it saves on fuel.

 Parents – tips and advice to help your child actively travel to school 

If you’d like your child to actively travel to school but can’t see past what’s making it difficult, we have some suggestions for you to make things easier.

Too far to walk or heading straight to work? - Consider driving part of the journey and walking the rest. By leaving your car a five to ten minute (or more) walk away from school, you’ll be making sure your child gets exercise. And you’ll avoid congestion outside the school gates, reduce the air pollution around school gates and get to work on time.

My children go to different schools – take turns with other families to walk the children to school or if they are old enough arrange walking buddies with friends.  It’s a great way to share the school run, and it’s fun for your children to walk with their friends.

Mornings are busy and I’m pushed for time - If time feels tight in the morning commit to actively travelling one day a week.  Once you’ve cracked your morning routine, you can increase the number of days a week.

The weather is bad - Don't let the weather put you, or them, off – it might seem obvious but using waterproofs, wellies, umbrellas, will keep you dry and when it’s cold a scarf and hat are a good idea. 

The route to school involves busy roads - there are lots of different roads, routes and footpaths you could use to get to school.  Openstreetmap or Google maps can help you plan a safer route and pick out some quieter roads and traffic-free cycle paths instead of the main roads.

I’m worried about my child’s safety when walking or cycling to school - showing your children how to spot risks and be safe near busy roads is one of the best ways to protect them. Practising road safety makes kids more aware, more confident, and safer around traffic. And gives you peace of mind as your children become more independent.  The council offer a range of road safety workshops including pedestrian and cycling training to schools.  Ask your school when they are running them.

I don’t know if my child’s bike is safe to ride - Like any machine, a bicycle will work better and last longer if you care for it properly. Get in the habit of checking their bike regularly with them – simple checks and maintenance can help them enjoy a smooth ride to school and avoid repairs and learn some valuable skills. The M check is a simple way to make sure their bike is safe to ride. Check out the 3-minute video  explaining the Sustrans M Check.

I have concerns about my child’s ability or confidence riding a bike – Schools in South Gloucestershire take up the Bikeability courses (a cycle training programme replacing cycling proficiency) provided by the Council.  Bikeability gives everyone the skills and confidence for all kinds of cycling.  Ask your school when they will be running and sign your child up.

Believe, Belong, Become
Taken from Hebrews 10:24-25
‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds’