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Ealing Walking Bus

Students hop on walking bus

A Southall school took part in Ealing’s first Enormous Walking Bus to encourage more students and their families to walk to school rather than drive.

Hambrough Primary School students, with a little help from Ealing Council’s school travel team walking mascot, Terri the Tiger, walked from Southall Broadway, through Southall Park to the school.

Travelling actively by walking, scooting and cycling to school, reduces the number of cars dropping children off at school, makes it safer for children, reduces congestion on the roads and leads to a decrease in air pollution around the school. It encourages everyone to Get Moving, too.

A total of 67 schools across the borough are taking part in the 2019 Ealing Active Travel Challenge. This is a 10-day challenge to encourage children and their families to walk, scoot and cycle to school. The Hambrough challenge also encompassed Walk to School Week, an annual national campaign developed by Living Streets.

What is an Enormous Walking Bus?

Put simply, it is a long line of children and their parents all walking to school together. At Hambrough Primary, the students and families were also joined by school staff including the headteacher, Louise Singleton, and officers from the council’s transport planning service.

The Enormous Walking Bus is a school travel initiative to get families moving and has a big impact on pupil’s ability to concentrate. Research has shown that active travel can increase the concentration of children by up to four hours.

Concentration is not the only benefit of active travel. Building it into the daily routine helps children aged between five and 18 to meet the daily target of 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise. In fact, just 15 minutes can significantly improve a child’s mood, reduce stress and anxiety and goes someway to maintaining a healthy weight, improving muscular strength, endurance and flexibility.

With 85% of Ealing families living within one mile of their child’s school, travelling actively, rather than driving that mile, makes a lot of sense. For the adults, it counts towards the 30 minutes’ recommended daily exercise.

Louise Singleton, Hambrough Primary School’s headteacher, said: “It is wonderful to see so many families taking part in the Enormous Walking Bus. The children have been very excited about it and our wonderful Global Ambassadors have worked hard to make sure it is a success. As a Gold accredited STARS school, this is a great way for us to showcase what active travel is all about.”

Council leader Julian Bell said: “What a brilliant initiative to get people moving in and around the borough. It is such a wonderful way for families to start the day, and great for their health and the environment too. We look forward to seeing more of these Enormous Walking Buses in Ealing, as schools continue to work hard to improve air quality and reduce congestion around the school gates by encouraging active travel on the school run.”

For more information about starting a Walking Bus or organising a one-off Enormous Walking Bus, contact the council’s school travel team on sta@ealing.gov.uk or follow them on twitter @ealingSTARS.

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