SOLIHULL school children are doing their bit for the environment - by walking to school.
Thirteen primary schools in Solihull were awarded grants totalling £13,000 at the end of last month for the year March 2008 to March 2009 in a bid to boost walking to school by youngsters and reduce the number of car journeys in the mornings.
Walking buses involve convoys of schoolchildren accompanied by staff or volunteers following a set route to school.
Dorridge Junior, Hatchford Brook Primary, Greswold Primary, Lady Katherine Leveson C of E, Langley Primary, Berkswell C of E Primary, St Augustine’s Catholic Primary, Balsall Common Primary, Damson Wood Infant, Valley Infant, Castle Bromwich Junior, Woodlands Infant and Dorridge Nursery and Infant School were among the schools who participated last year.
This year, Woodlands Infant School in Shirley, Castle Bromwich Junior School and St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, have already signed up for the scheme which will run until the end of March 2010.
Paul Clark, Transport Minister, said: “We have always been clear that we want as many children to walk or cycle to school as possible. Not only will this help tackle the issues of childhood obesity and carbon emissions, it is also an excellent way for young people to learn more about road safety.”
The scheme is supported by Solihull Council and the £1,000 from last year’s grants went towards providing kit such as high visibility clothing for the journeys to the school gates.
The local authority provides free services to the schools in the borough to support their involvement with the scheme, including help with CRB checks, training of parent volunteers, risk assessment of routes and general support to staff and parents.
Jackie Cannings, headteacher at Woodlands Infant School in Shirley, said: “It is a good idea and helps the children keep fit and healthy and eases congestion around the school grounds.”
She added that the school had been running a walking bus for the past year as part of Solihull Council’s travel plan of 2007.
The initiative was originally launched by the Government in 2006 and this year an estimated 267 schools in the West Midlands region will benefit from £1.8million of funding set aside for it.