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Highland Pupils Put Their Feet Forward To Support Walk To School Week (18/05/09)
Over 12,000 pupils in 94 primary schools across The Highland Council area are taking part in National Walk to School Week (18 22 May) which raises awareness of road safety amongst young people and encourages more children to walk to and from school.
Statistics from the Department of Transport show that the number of children travelling to school by car over the past 20 years has doubled and the Department of Health has revealed that just under 30% of children aged between two and fifteen are classed as overweight or obese.
Walk To School Week is co-ordinated nationally by TravelWise and Living Streets, and locally by The Highland Council’s Road Safety Unit with TEC Services.
Councillor John Laing, Chairman of The Highland Council’s TEC Services committee said: “Highland Council through its programme for Administration is committed to encouraging increased healthy and environmental options in school travel and increasing the number of children walking and cycling to school. Walk to School Week is a key point in our annual road safety calendar. It is vital to promote road safety issues and drive the message home that we are all responsible for the health and safety of our young people whether we are a parent; driver; pedestrian or pupil we must all teach and learn how to encourage walking to and from school safely.”
To coincide with Walk To School Week Primary 3 pupils from Lochardil Primary School in Inverness have been working on a Road Safety and Active School Travel project and thanks to a successful bid to The Highland Council’s Safer Routes To School Scheme, all P1-P3 pupils now have hi-viz vests to wear when walking and all P4-P7 pupils have been given hi-viz slap bands.
Local Councillor David Henderson said: “It is all very well encouraging pupils to become more active and walk or cycle to school but we want them to be safe and easily seen by all road users. I am delighted the high visability vests and bands have arrived in time for walk to school week and I wish all the young walkers enjoyable and safe journeys to and from school.”
Currently 35% of the 236 pupils walk to school, 31% cycle although 93% of the children live within walking and cycling distance from the school. It is hoped that these figures will improve over the next few months as The school are, for the first time undertaking the Council’s Road Safety Teams walking and cycling to school incentive scheme ‘Go For It’ in a move to increase the number of pupils who walk and cycle to school.