Pupils in Oxfordshire get active and join the walk to school challenge

Hundreds of school children across the county got active in May by clocking up thousands of steps as part of Oxfordshire County Council’s annual Walk to School Week (17-21 May 2021).

The week is an extension of the ‘WOW’ project supported by the council’s public health team over the past two years. Run by Living Streets, the year-round walk to school challenge encourages children to collect badges each month as a reward for making journeys actively.

Nine schools are currently participating in the walk to school challenge, with another 11 signed up to join in September. This year’s challenge focuses on the walking superpowers that benefit individuals, communities and the planet.

Cllr Damian Haywood, Oxfordshire County Council’s Lead Member for Public Health, said: “Walking has so many benefits both physical and mental. It aids concentration and creativity and creates safer, less polluted and more welcoming streets. All that makes for a happy, healthy child set up for success in and out of the classroom.

“Increasing day to day physical activity is a priority in Oxfordshire, where 79 per cent of children aged five to 16 do not meet the national chief medical officer’s physical activity guidelines.

“The children clearly enjoy taking part and have learned some great messages about the importance of being active everyday by walking to school and helping to look after the environment by reducing air pollution.”

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive at Living Streets said: “Walk to School Week is a fun, inclusive, free and simple activity, which improves the physical and mental wellbeing of children and celebrates walking for all.

“Pupils enjoy the health and happiness that comes from walking, while schools and local communities enjoy reduced congestion and pollution.

“We’re thrilled that families nationwide were able join us and enjoy the fresh air, fun, freedom, and friendship that walking to school brings.”

The council’s public health team seeks to promote, improve and protect the health of local people. It’s all part of the council’s commitment to thriving communities – to help people live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their communities.



About 'WOW'

WOW is a behavioural change programme that incentivises primary school children, their parents and teachers to travel actively all, or part, of the way to school – using ‘badges’ to ‘gamify’ walking to school.

Find out more about the project on Living Streets website.