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Boss the school run

Why cycle and
walk to school?

Come on, it's much more fun!

On foot and by bike travel is much more fun for kids. They love being out in the open air, in any weather. Plus you get to spend more quality time with them - a few minutes to talk about your day or to spot things on routes. It's much more appealing than sitting in a car in crawling traffic.

If that isn't enough to persuade you, did you know that 75% of primary school children in Greater Manchester travel less than two kilometres to school? That's a 12 minute walk or a four minute bike ride. Walking, cycling or scooting is easily the least faff option at pick up and drop off time - you don't need to find somewhere to park your car, you can just cruise right up to the school gates. Plus, on foot and by bike is the most reliable way to travel as it will take you exactly the same time, every time. You'll feel less stressed and it's so much better for your physical and mental health.

And if that’s still not enough, think of how much cleaner the air will be with less cars on the road. Pre-pandemic, trips to education generated an estimated 730,000 trips by car per school day. Think of how much clearer the roads would be if more of those journeys were walked or cycled. And how much less hassle it will be for residents and teachers who have to deal with congestion on a daily basis.

Make on foot and by bike travel part of your routine for the school run. You'll be surprised at how good it will make everyone feel.

School Streets in Greater Manchester

Transforming the school run with walking & cycling-friendly initiatives

Greater Manchester is helping transform the school run, putting measures in place that promote cycling, scooting and walking and restricting access to motorised vehicles at school start and finish times.

The  aim of the School Streets  scheme is to help create a pleasant, child-friendly environment, whilst ensuring residents, local businesses and blue badge holders can still maintain access to the streets. As well as improving the air children breathe, it also aims to reduce traffic and parking pressures outside schools during term time, whilst encouraging more sustainable and active forms of travel to schools.   

In most cases, a School Streets project consists of a traffic regulation order and related signage, but the programme isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Each School Street scheme is unique to their community and the needs of the school, with each district set to adapt its measures to the needs of each individual school.  

The School Streets programme forms part of Greater Manchester’s wider vision to deliver an integrated transport system Destination: Bee Network, which helps people to travel sustainably to school, to home, to work and across the city-region.  

If you are a GM-based school interested in getting involved, contact your local council to register your interest.

A child cycling to school with parents down a quiet road

People who walk for more than eight minutes per day are 33% more likely to report better mental health.

A stress-inducing pick up and drop off

Teachers, is the school run a nightmare with cars mounting pavements and traffic jams galore? You're not alone.

If the daily school run is causing you a headache with cars mounting pavements, blocking residents' driveways, traffic chaos and children almost being hit by cars, unfortunately you are in good company. This is a common experience across the United Kingdom and Greater Manchester is no exception. Listen to Gavin Shortall, Headteacher at St James' C of E school in Rusholme, talk about his experiences. Then scroll down for tips on how to turn things around.

Two thirds of teachers would support a ban on motor vehicles outside the school gates during school drop off and pick up times.

The school run, ride, scoot, wheel and walk

Cale Green Primary School in Stockport enjoys extremely high levels of walking and cycling.

Some schools across Greater Manchester have found clever ways to get extremely high levels of children cycling and walking to school every day. Cale Green in Stockport is one.

As well as working with the council to restrict immediate access to cars at their school gates, they work closely with charity Living Streets to offer incentives to kids, including a travel tracker which they complete to get free badges. The school has also found low-cost ways to inspire more car-free journeys such as regular free breakfasts, longer breaktimes for kids who regularly arrive on foot or by bike and they pay for yearly, free on-site bike maintenance as well as a fleet of free balance bikes for nursery kids. They also make a point of doing school trips to local landmarks on foot.

'It was fairly stressful. It wasn't a pleasant experience before. Now we actually get to school quicker. My kids love it!'

Hear Mark's story about why he changed how he gets his kids to and from school and the difference it has made to them all.

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