Woodstock pupils to join the Santa Express

Headteacher Lisa Rowe will be dressing up as Santa and leading the walk from Woodstock Library down to the school. The walk is designed to encourage parents to park further away from the school when dropping off their children – reducing congestion around the school gates.

As well as making the roads safer near the school, walking can help children to arrive at school alert and ready to learn, as well as providing daily exercise.

Firefighters from Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service and council leader Ian Hudspeth will be joining pupils, parents and teachers on the walk.

Teaching pupils to become safer pedestrians

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service Road Safety Manager said: “Walking, even part of the way to school provides parents with the opportunity to teach their children how to become a safer pedestrian. Teach your child to stop, look and listen and find a clear place to cross where you can see all around.

"Schemes such as this one also promote the governments agenda to tackle physical inactivity by embedding these good habits from such an early age.

“Use the Footsteps pedestrian road safety guide to help teach your child, this encourages children to learn to think for themselves and gradually get better at dealing with roads and traffic. It could save their lives - so it's one of the most important things a child needs to learn.”

Ms Rowe said:  ‘It is our aim to beat the number of passengers that we had on our Giant Park & Walk Bus at the end of the Summer Term – an amazing 201 passengers. The Santa Express will provide a fun and social start to the school day; as well as promoting the benefits of fresh air and exercise, and the advantages of reduced parking and congestion in the roads around the school."

Footsteps training

As part of the Footsteps training, parents are encouraged to take their children to the roadside for practical training. Children are not told what to do but are encouraged to make their own choices and decisions about what they see and hear through questioning. As time goes on they get better at deciding what they have to do to keep safe in various traffic situations.

The Footsteps parents' guide has been produced by Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service's Road Safety Education Team and a free copy is available at local schools, or people can download a copy from www.365alive.co.uk.

Benefits of exercise for children

Public Health advice states that exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. It is recommended that children do at least an hour of physical activity daily, involving a mixture of intensity including walking and running.

A wide body of research shows that young people taking part in daily physical activity have increased concentration and achievement in school.

The Santa Express starts at Woodstock Library on Wednesday 17 December at 8:15am.