School children set to make great strides this October

October is International Walk to School Month, an opportunity for local children to join hundreds of thousands of pupils across the globe celebrating the walk to school.

In Brighton & Hove, 37 primary schools have signed up again to the national campaign, which will see more than 12,000 children take part. Some schools will be introducing Walk to School Month with an assembly on the benefits of being active on your physical and mental health, as well as being a way to reduce pollution and learn about road safety.

Pre-school children will also be joining in, with 19 early years settings from across the city signed up to the Early Years Walking and Wheeling campaign, which encourages parents, carers, children and staff to walk, scoot and cycle to their nursery, pre-school, playgroup or childminder. 

A special school assembly took place at St John’s the Baptist Catholic Primary School this week, when they were presented with an award in recognition of their hard work to promote active, safe and sustainable travel to school over many years. The school have worked in partnership with Sustrans Bike It campaign to encourage and support children riding bikes, which has seen pupils take part in rides on the Downs and Bike It Breakfasts. Their ongoing commitment to encouraging active travel has resulted in a significant increase in the number of children walking, cycling and scooting to school. 

The school was presented with a Modeshift STARS Bronze award on 25 September by the city council’s School Travel Team and Piers the Meerkat, the Walk to School mascot. They are now working towards achieving Silver. Modeshift STARS is a national awards scheme which recognises schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.

Carmel Hughes, Headteacher of St John the Baptist Catholic School, said: “We are delighted to have received national recognition for our efforts to promote active travel. 

“Although our school is situated at the top of a very steep hill we actively promote walking, scooting and cycling to school. We have had a significant increase over the past two years in these modes of travel and are very proud of our children and parents for their efforts. 

“The children always enjoy a visit from the Walk to School Mascot, Piers the Meerkat, and that made the award event even more special for them.” 

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Councillor Gill Mitchell, said: “It’s great to see so many children taking part in this year’s Walk to School Month, which celebrates active travel and the numerous benefits it has on improving physical and mental health. 

“Walking or cycling to school also helps the environment by reducing air pollution and congestion, as well as being a good opportunity for children to learn about road safety.  We will continue to work with schools across the city to promote this initiative and other opportunities for sustainable travel.”