Hiking with a Viking to encourage sustainable school travel

Burton school children have been encouraged to walk to school with a Viking in a bid to ease congestion and reduce pollution.

For Walk to School Week Outwoods Primary School, in Harehedge Lane, took part in a series of activities to encourage families to ditch the car and get active while walking to school.

Designed to help reduce congestion, improve pollution and inspire healthier choices it comes as statistics show that the school run alone contributes to half a million tonnes of CO2 a year in the UK – the same as the total of some small countries!

On Friday(20) pupils had the chance to walk through time on the way to lessons by joining a real life Viking in exploring Burton streets on the way to school.

The event is the end of a week of activities for the Burton school to mark the national awareness campaign and increase the number of pupils walking.

Headteacher at Outwoods Primary School Joanne Cutbush said it was important that schools look at ways to encourage more pupils to travel sustainably where they can.

She said: “The school run has a huge impact on our environment. The increase in cars not only causes congestion but adds to pollution and poor air quality.

“As a school we are proud to be able to support our pupils and raise awareness of Walk to School week. Walking is not only good for the environment but has great health benefits for children both physically and mentally.

“Small changes, whether that is walking an extra day a week or just part of the way where possible, all adds up to a big difference.”

Walk to School week runs from 16th to the 20th May and is designed to encourage pupils to ditch the car and get active on the way to school.

Fifteen pupil travel ambassadors have been appointed at Outwoods Primary School to help encourage more people to think about sustainable travel. A series of activities from walking games to jazzing up your shoes has been organised to raise awareness of the benefits with the school setting the challenge of reducing the number of pupils who travel to school by car.

Each day the school will monitor the difference the project is making with past projects having seen schools increase walking habits by around 30%.

For those living further away or unable to walk all the way to the school families are being encouraged to park and stride, driving so far and then walking the last 5 to 10 minutes to ease congestion around the school gates.

Research from Living Streets, which promotes the benefits of walking, says that walking to school not only has environmental benefits but also helps to boost mental health and increase physical activity.

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