Youngsters ‘Park and Stride’ as council scheme boosts active school travel

Pupils took to the streets to show how an innovative council scheme is helping more Oxfordshire children get active on the school run.

Children, parents and teachers at Leafield Primary School staged a ‘Park and Stride’ event, aimed at encouraging parents to park away from the school gates and walk the last part of the journey – boosting road safety, congestion and promoting exercise.

Most of the 98 children at the school took part, alongside Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Public Health Hilary Hibbert-Biles.

The school is one of 21 across the county already signed up to the council-commissioned ‘WOW’ scheme. The project, run by Living Streets, is a year-round walk-to-school challenge where children collect badges each month as a reward for making journeys on foot. The scheme also provides schools with a ‘Travel Tracker’ which records all modes of travel and gives valuable insights into travel habits.

Since September Active travel rates – including walking, cycling, scooting or ‘park and stride’ – have already risen by 20 percentage points from 65% to 85% per cent at these schools.

Impressive results

When Leafield first adopted the scheme, 76 per cent of pupils’ journeys were ‘active’ but that has now risen to 84 per cent, with 29 per cent families using the Park and Stride.

Cllr Hibbert-Biles joined families walking from Leafield Village Hall, where they were met by Strider, the Living Streets mascot who present pupils with their WOW badges.

She said: “Leafield is a great example of how ‘Park and Stride’ can be used effectively to increase walking rates. The year-round walk to school challenge has been easy for schools to adapt to, and Park and Stride is ideal for a more rural school such as Leafield, where families may be more likely to drive, but still want to enjoy the benefits of walking to school. Families can either park ten minutes’ walk away or get off the bus early and complete their journey on foot.”

Julia Crear, Regional Director for Living Streets said: “We know that not all families are able to walk the whole way to school but Park and Stride is an excellent alternative. It ensures there are still fewer cars around the school gates which improves congestion and air pollution, whilst allowing children to fit more active minutes into their day.”

Schools sign-up

Schools seeking more information on how to sign up please contact Sarah Ellis sarah.ellis@livingstreets.org.uk

More info on 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 – essentially, it uses ‘badges’ to ‘gamify’ walking to school.

Since the first 21 schools started the programme in September:

  • Active travel rates (walking, cycling, scooting, park & stride and getting off the bus early) have increased from 65% to 85%).
  • Walking rates have increased from 45% to 57%
  • Park and stride has almost doubled from 9% to 16%
  • WOW costs less than £450 per school per annum and can be funded using PE Pupil Premium


Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Public Health Hilary Hibbert-Biles joins pupils, staff and parents at Leafield Primary School on a Park and Stride journey.