More than 40,000 pupils from 250 primary schools across Scotland will this year take part in a year-round challenge which rewards those who walk to school at least once a week.
Organised by Living Streets Scotland, the charity for ‘everyday walking’, the WOW initiative rewards children with a collectable badge each month, with a total of 10 available across the academic year.
Children arrive at school and log their journeys on the WOW Travel Tracker – allowing the school to see which pupils have earned a badge, and to monitor walking rates across the year.
According to Living Streets, schools in Scotland that participate in WOW see the number of pupils walking to school increase by an average of 13% – with a corresponding drop in car use.
Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “WOW is simple to run and pupils love to take part. Just a few minutes of a teacher’s day is all it takes to make a big difference.
“We see a lot of dedication and enthusiasm from pupils and staff across Scotland and are thrilled that so many schools are taking part. We’re looking forward to families getting on their feet this year and experiencing the many benefits walking to school can bring to our health and happiness.”
On 27 August, pupils from Bishopmill Primary School in Moray were joined by Strider, the Living Streets mascot, for a celebration to kick off ‘the year of active travel’ (pictured).
Madeline McCutcheon, head teacher at Bishopmill Primary, said: “Bishopmill Primary is proud to be launching the WOW programme for this academic year. Our pupils have been using the interactive Travel Tracker for years now and they love having the opportunity to log their journeys each morning as they arrive at school in a fun, engaging and easy way.
“The vast majority of our pupils arrive at school on foot, by scooter or by bike and the monthly badge rewards of WOW help to keep it that way.”
In June, the DfT confirmed it would provide Living Streets with more than £600k to encourage more primary school children to walk to school, by enabling the charity to deliver its Walk to School programme for another year – including the WOW initiative.