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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Barrow children stepping out during Walk to School event

IT’S WALK to School Week – but for the active children at Yarlside Primary in Barrow, it’s something they practise all year round.

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BEST FEET FORWARD Yarlside Primary School pupils, staff and parents taking part in the national Walk to School campaign

Every day pupils who walk, scoot or bike to school get a stamp for each trip. After 50 trips their achievement is announced in assembly and the children receive a reward.

Year Three teacher, Kishanda Blake, said: “The number of children coming to school by car has reduced quite a lot. The children get rewards, like reflectors, for walking or coming in by bike or scooter. We want to promote walking.”

The incentives were introduced a few years ago when Yarlside Primary gained a Green Flag Award. As an eco-school, Yarlside made a commitment to reduce the number of car journeys.

“The parents are, on the whole, supportive,” added Mrs Blake.

“I know there are times when children have clubs, and parents have commitments, and it does make it difficult to accompany children to school.

“To help them along we have suggested parking further away from school and walking in and they can still get their rewards for that.”

National Walk to School Week runs from today until Friday.

A total of 77 schools in the county, involving nearly 13,000 children, have signed up for this year’s challenge, which encourages pupils and their parents to leave their cars at home and walk to school.

Walk to School Week is part of Living Streets’ National Walking Month and the county council’s Active Travel team has invited all infant, junior and primary schools to spend the week being active by either walking, cycling or scooting to school.

More than 70 schools in Cumbria took part in last year’s challenge, resulting in a reduction of over 15,000 car journeys – the most since Walk to School Week started in Cumbria over 15 years ago.

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport said: “Walk to School Week has been really popular in the county in previous years and I’m delighted that so many schools have signed up to take part this year.

“It’s a fun way to help young people get active and appreciate both the health and environmental benefits of walking.”

This year’s theme will be a five-day walking challenge, which will each day focus on a different benefit of walking, from keeping fit and spending time as a family, to learning about road safety.

Each child taking part receives a challenge booklet, along with a sticker to put on a class wall chart for each time they walk, cycle or scoot during the week.

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