At Active Calderdale, we have been working with schools to deliver new ways to build active travel into the lives of pupils, parents and staff. Through our School Streets program, we have found a way to reduce emissions around many of our schools, boost safety, and promote getting active. You can read about our trial on our school streets blog. We have also been working to supply schools with increased cycle and scooter storage to manage the increased demand that this has caused.
Walk to School Week 2020 gave another opportunity for us to assist our schools. We supplied Living Streets Challenge packs to several schools to encourage them to take part.
To cap off Walk to School Week, we asked Helena Angstmann, headteacher at St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Halifax, to give her thoughts on how the week went, the impact that walking to school has on her pupils, and what they think about ditching the car and walking instead:
Each July, my deputy and I look at the school calendar and find ourselves scratching our heads about #walktoschoolweek: wondering how to encourage the families that attend our school to walk and wanting to make the event bigger and better; trying to ensure the impact of this one week in the academic year, has long lasting impact on our pupils.
This year, I am really pleased to say that I believe it has had the desired impact, and I am confident that , whilst some of the pupils may well return to travelling by car(due to the distances that they live from our school,) as the focus week comes to an end, we have made significant improvements in the way we prepare our children for the start of each day at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Halifax.
I live in Leeds, so walking the 24miles to school, I thought, wasn’t an option…but my Head Boy & Head Girl have ensured that they lead by example and have walked at least part of the way to school each day. They told me today, during our catchup meeting that it’s important to walk to school, to enable a healthy mind and body:
"The fresh air has made it easier for me to concentrate and have a much more positive attitude to my school work... it has been hard, but it's the right thing to do’ they told me.
Showing the virtue of resilience is something that many of our pupils have done throughout this week. It’s plainly obvious to me that our virtues driven curriculum is having the desired impact. As a school, taking part in the School Street initiative and now #walktoschoolweek, has definitely set us in the right frame of mind to continue to improve and motivate each other in our daily work. Our mission statement reminds us that ‘united we excel’ and we truly stand by this in all that we do.
We look forward to working more with St. Joseph's on embedding physical activity across the school!