Schools across North East Lincolnshire are being urged to take part in a national drive to get young people walking to school.
Run by walking charity Living Streets and funded by North East Lincolnshire Council through the Department for Transport, the WOW scheme enables pupils to self-report how they get to school using an interactive travel tracker app, and teachers can input students’ journeys in class too.
If they travel sustainably – by walking, cycling or on a scooter – once a week for a month, they get rewarded with a badge.
A generation ago, 70 per cent of pupils walked to school – now it’s less than half. The WOW initiative is hoping to help make walking to school a more natural, enjoyable choice for young people in North East Lincolnshire.
Benefits include healthier children, less pollution and safer roads for all residents.
It is hoped that the more schools that take part, the less congested the roads will be, creating a safer environment for pupils.
On average, WOW schools see a 30 per cent reduction in car journeys and a 23 per cent increase in the number of children walking to school.
Schools that sign up to WOW get a WOW Travel Tracker account, and pupils use the tracker to record the way they travelled to school each morning. At the end of the month, the school hands out badges to pupils who have earnt one.
Each year, these WOW badges are designed by pupils in the charity’s annual badge design competition. This year, the theme is ‘Walk for the World’ to show how cutting car use is great for the planet.
Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “Pupils are so much better for walking or cycling to school, not just for their physical health but for the chance it gives them to be more independent and socialise with peers.
“With many schoolchildren in the country leaving primary school obese, it is initiatives such as WOW that will make a difference. I hope its success in other regions can be repeated here.”
Interested in WOW for your school? Visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/freewow and complete the simple form.
Did you know?
- 1 in 4 cars on the road are on the school run
- Only 1 in 5 children are meeting recommended physical activity levels
- And 1 in 5 children leave primary school obese
- WOW is currently delivered in more than 1,000 schools across the UK