Walk to School Month and Cycle to School Week were so successful in Barking and Dagenham schools this year, that many are considering doing them more often.

Last month, nine schools across Barking and Dagenham participated; pupils from reception to Year six walked, cycled, or scooted to school at least three times a week to take part in healthy, active, and environmentally friendly journeys to school.

There are many benefits to encouraging children to walk, cycle and scoot more regularly to school. As well as reducing congestion and pollution around the school gates, it also helps your child’s mental and physical health. Children also arrive at school more ready to learn.

October’s events were such a hit, that participating school; St Joseph’s R.C. Primary School, is considering having them every term, rather than just once a year, after nearly 200 pupils participated.

Alexandra Hinton, Deputy Head & Designated Safeguarding Lead, at St Joseph’s school, said:

“Pupils at St Joseph’s really enjoyed taking part in both the Cycle to School and Walk to School Weeks. As well as the obvious physical and environmental benefits, staff noticed that pupils were more alert and ready to learn in the mornings. Many of our families also got involved and have continued to walk, scoot or cycle to school – which is great to see.”

Students were provided with incentives to encourage them to walk or cycle to school at least three times a week. Badges and bike lights were handed out to those who did, by the sponsors at Be First.

Nina Nicholas, Primary PE lead at Eastbrook School, said of the incentives:

“I think the badges and rewards for walking to school have been an enormous success. So many children are talking about walking and cycling to school now even after the Walk and Cycle to School weeks have finished.”

Be First along with Barking and Dagenham Council are keen to promote sustainable travel to all age groups and were delighted to be a part of Walk and Cycle to School Week.

Councillor Elizabeth Kangethe, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment & School Improvement said:

“Barking and Dagenham Council are delighted to be working with Be First and Sustrans to promote the most environmentally sustainable, healthy, and economically viable ways that children can travel to school. This issue has never been more important. We hope this will inspire pupils to continue using active travel on their journeys to school.”

Lucy Foreman, Transport Planning Manager at Be First said:

“We want to encourage as many pupils to walk, scoot and cycle as possible, because there are lots of benefits associated with active travel. Walk to School Month and Cycle to School Week were great ways to motivate pupils to walk, cycle and scoot, and it was fantastic to see so much enthusiasm from the schools and pupils. Clean air around schools is important to us at Be First and Barking and Dagenham Council. We are taking every opportunity to improve air quality around our schools such as sponsoring events like this and the roll out of School Streets.”