Schools in Banbury and Bicester sign up for new 'walk to school' scheme

Primary schools in the Banbury and Bicester area have signed up to a free ‘walk to school’ health campaign funded by Oxfordshire County Council

The WOW challenge, run by charity Living Streets, encourages children to log their daily journeys to school and develop a healthy habit for a lifetime. Those walking to school at least once a week for a month earn a special badge, with 11 to collect throughout the year.

All schools taking part receive a resource pack including 11 badges for each pupil, a ‘travel tracker’ whiteboard for children to record their journeys, guides for teachers and content for school newsletters. Council funding is enabling the first 20 Oxfordshire schools to sign up for free for a year, with further funding available from the Bicester Healthy New Town programme for schools in the Bicester area.

Schools already signed up include:

  • St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Banbury
  • North Hinksey C E Primary School
  • Southwold Primary School, Bicester
  • Christopher Rawlins CE Primary, Adderbury

Other schools interested in taking part should contact Kevin Croasdale on 0207 377 4908 or email kevin.croasdale@livingstreets.org.uk

Healthy habits

Oxfordshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Eduation Hilary Hibbert-Biles said: “This is a great scheme which reduces congestion outside the school gates and creates healthy habits for a lifetime. Plus children enjoy taking part and a walk before school sees them arrive fit, refreshed and ready to learn. This is why we provided funding for local schools to take part.

“WOW normally costs £1.50 per pupil, per year, but through our support, 20 Oxfordshire primary schools now have the chance to take part for free for a year, and we’re looking for 15 more to sign up.”

Kevin Croasdale, Commercial Manager, Living Streets said: “It is simple and easy for schools to run, and just a few minutes of a teacher’s day is all it takes to make a big difference. Each year, the 11 WOW badges follow a new theme, all of which are designed by pupils in Living Streets’ annual badge design competition. This year’s theme is Walk the Americas, which will take children on a journey from the top of North America to the tip of South America. Please contact me for more information.”

Case study: Headteacher leads by example

Chesterton Church of England Primary School took part in Living Streets’ Walk to School Week challenge in May. During the week a ‘park and stride’ initiative reduced congestion outside the school gates and saw real engagement from parents and pupils. Headteacher Iain Horner also left his car at home and walked an impressive 14 miles to work one morning.

He said: “In addition to the obvious environmental and traffic benefits, we feel that taking part gave families and children some quality time together and, for the ones arriving from further afield, a bit of an adventure.

“I also feel that, for our older pupils, the independence and responsibility of walking to school on their own or with friends is very valuable as they begin thinking about their transition to secondary school. Last but not least, a bit of fresh air and physical exercise first thing in the morning can only be a good thing and sets the children up well for the day.”

Find out more

For further information or for schools interested in signing up to the scheme, please contact Kevin Croasdale on 0207 377 4908 or email kevin.croasdale@livingstreets.org.uk


Pupils from Chesterton Primary School take part in their recent Walk to School Week challenge.