Walsall Council’s A*STARS Road Safety team is inviting the borough’s primary schools and their pupils to put their best feet forward and participate in the ‘Go the distance’ campaign.
The nationwide campaign for Walk to School Week, taking place between the 17 and 21 May encourages pupils and parents to use active and sustainable travel as an alternative to the car for their journey to and from school.
Walsall primary schools will be working hard to encourage as many pupils as possible to walk, scoot or cycle in every day for a week. Every pupil who travels in actively will complete a wall chart to help their school reach the finish line on Friday. Secondary schools will also be invited to encourage pupils to travel more actively during this week.
The A*STARS team currently works with over 80% of primary schools in the borough. They deliver and support a range of initiatives to enable children to walk, cycle or scoot to and from school safely. This includes developing school action plans, providing training and practical support to promote safe cycling, developing walking buses and other innovative partnership campaigns between schools, parents and carers and the wider community.
At the end of each year A*STARS schools will be awarded a level according to their achievements and the percentage of pupils using active travel. Participating in Walk to School Week will enable Walsall schools to meet core elements on their action plan, helping towards their overall rating.
Councillor Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader an Portfolio Holder for Regeneration said:
“I encourage all Walsall children and families to take part in Walk to School week. Every pupil will be given the challenge to travel sustainably into school. They can choose to walk, scoot, cycle or travel by wheelchair or mobility scooter meaning that everyone can participate.
“I know some parents drive their children to school but they can still take part. Parking a little further away and walking to school, even if it’s just for five minutes, will help to reduce congestion and air pollution at the school gates and improves road safety.
“Where it is possible to use active and sustainable travel, let's do so, keeping the traffic off the streets and making Walsall a much safer place."
Councillor Stephen Craddock, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing said:
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic many of us have now built a daily walk into our everyday routine. Walk to School Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate this.
“The benefits of walking, cycling and scooting the journey to school are well-known. Teachers have told us that pupils who travel actively will arrive more alert, happy and ready for learning.
“It can also help to improve children’s confidence and resilience and encourages them to be active. By walking, cycling or scooting into school, children are well on their way to reaching their recommended 60 minutes minimum of physical activity per day.”
Notes to editors
· Walsall's Walk to School Week initiative is being promoted as part of the local A*STARS Programme (Active Sustainable Travel and Road Safety). A*STARS is delivered in partnership with Public Health and is a series of walking, wheeling and road safety initiatives, along with training, expertise and support that is given to schools to help them to develop and promote safer, healthier lifestyle choices for all. A*STARS: Active Sustainable Travel And Road Safety (astarswalsall.co.uk)
· Walk to School Week | Living Streets