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Pupils keen to keep active in their commute to school

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THE number of pupils travelling to school actively remains higher than average, but the trend has started to slip.

(Picture by Peter Frankland, 28343328)

A survey, carried out from Monday until Wednesday last week, found that 39% of students in Years 6, 8 and 10 were using active travel – by bicycle, scooter or on foot – to get to school.

This was an 8% increase on the 2016 Young People’s Survey, which assesses the same year groups, which had only 31% of students travelling actively in May/June.

Overall, 3,159 students from 11 schools responded to the survey from all year groups, with results also showing an average of 39% of students used active travel to get to school.

That number increased in the afternoons, as 43% were travelling home by walking or cycling.

Primary schools saw 41% of pupils travelling to school actively and 45% going home actively.

Education, Sport & Culture, Environment & Infrastructure and the Health Improvement Commission worked together ahead of schools returning after lockdown to encourage students to walk and cycle.

The survey was overseen by the commission.

Alun Williams, its Be Active lead, said: ‘It is great to see an increase in active travel to school.

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‘Walking or cycling to school is a great way to fit some physical activity into children’s and young people’s day.

‘We think that the increase is probably a combination of factors – the increased importance that young people and families have placed on being active, flexible working, the support given by schools and the temporary infrastructure such as lower speed limits, drop and stride locations and staggered start and finish times.

‘This gives great insight into the factors which need to be sustained and extended if we want increased active travel to be part of our new normal.’

The first few days of the return to school saw about 50% of students choosing active travel.

The commission will be conducting another survey next month to assess the medium-term impact that can be expected.

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann
author

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