The school’s pupils and their families have been participating in the ‘WoW challenge’, set by the company Living Streets, which is aimed at encouraging people to walk to school more, and use less cars, to reduce congestion and pollution in the area, and promote healthy lifestyles.
Pupils who walk to school at least twice a week, every week, receive a badge each month with different endangered animals on them.
Headteacher, Cathryn Antwis, said “Since we joined The Walk to School Challenge in January, the percentage of active journeys has increased from 55% to over 75% each week. With the support of Sajid Patel from Grand Occasions, we have established a ‘Park and Stride’ facility. This enables children who live some distance from school to participate in the scheme as their parents are able to park at Grand Occasions on London Road, and then enjoy a healthy ten minute walk to school as a family.”
Attending on the day were Living Streets, Preston City’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Yakub Patel, as well as representatives from Lancashire County Council and PNE education trust.
Councillor Yakub Patel said: “Having road sense is a vital life skill, and the daily walk to school gives our pupils the perfect opportunity to practise safely with their parents.”
During the event, Living streets and their mascot met pupils outside school on Frenchwood avenue, before making a tour of the school’s park and stride facilities, which are at the Royal Banqueting Hall car park on Albyn Street East.
A free breakfast was then provided for pupils who walked to school, sponsored by Morrisons Deepdale store, Asda Fulwood and Sainsburys Deepdale.
PNE education trust staff also brought goal posts for a penalty shoot out, whilst teachers set up music speakers in the playground for a wake and shake dance.
Speaking of the WoW challenge, one parent, Daisy Dutton, said: “The children love walking to school and we've seen many benefits. Walking gives us a chance to talk and play together, it allows me to fully engage and give them 100% of my attention, our mornings are calmer and even if we do leave the house in a rush, the fresh air on our walk helps to soothe away any feelings of stress.
“Children are very aware of the environment and how our choices and lifestyles can impact upon it. Walking to school is just one, simple way they can make a positive change.”
Another parent, Alia Hamid added: “When you take the time to walk, you notice more, we see so much on our route to school, sparking conversation and interest in the world around us. Only recently, my 6 year old son and I have named a local stray cat. We’ve been back to give it food after school and generally enquire about its welfare. This is teaching my son compassion, kindness and generosity- great life skills.
“He also loves seeing his friends on the way to school, it’s a nice opportunity for the children to socialise outside the classroom, for us parents to get to know one another and build connections in our local community.”