Home News Families walking to school more post-pandemic, suggests new data

Families walking to school more post-pandemic, suggests new data

Dr Ronx supports the walk to school
Dr Ronx supports the walk to school
  • New research finds that one in four parents are now walking their child to school more since the pandemic.
  • Over 350,000 children across the UK will take to their feet for Living Streets’ Walk to School Week (15–19 2023).
  • Walk to School Week takes place during Living Streets’ National Walking Month each May, with this year’s campaign focussing on the reason to walk to school and the impact it can have.
  • Living Streets’ walk to school campaign is supported by children’s television presenter and emergency doctor, Dr Ronx.

New research released for Walk to School Week finds that one in four (25%) parents of primary school aged children are now able to walk their child to school more thanks to flexible working introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Censuswide survey, commissioned by Living Streets asked parents/carers of 4–11-year-olds whether changes to working arrangement in recent years had affected how often they walk their child to or from school. 25 per cent of parents/carers responded that they now walk their child to school more than they used to. 19 per cent had not had a change in their working arrangements.

Parents/carers were also asked what would encourage them to walk their child to school instead of driving. Respondents answered better walking environments (18%), fewer cars (18%), better air quality (18%) and better working arrangements (17%).

Thousands of children across the UK will celebrate the benefits of walking during Living Streets’ Walk to School Week, which starts today (15-19 May 2023).  

Walk to School Week is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking as part of their National Walking Month campaign each May.  

Families are encouraged to walk, wheel, cycle, scoot or ‘Park and Stride’ for the whole week to see the big differences that come from small steps, from healthier and happier children to fewer cars outside the school gates.

Over 1,000 schools have signed up to take part this year and receive special Walk With Wildlife themed challenge packs. 356,000 pupils across England, Scotland and Wales will walk to school with Living Streets, learning about the important reasons to walk and the difference it can make to individuals, communities and the planet along the way.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:  

“It’s fantastic to see that more families can enjoy quality time together on the walk to school thanks to flexible working arrangements. By offering a good work/life balance, employers are rewarded with a happier and more productive workforce.

“It’s concerning that parents are put off walking their child to school because of too many cars and poor air quality. By switching from driving to walking our short, everyday journeys, we can start to reduce this congestion and the pollution it causes, becoming part of the solution.

“Walk to School Week is an excellent opportunity to give walking to school a go to see how it could fit into our lives year-round.”

Children’s television presenter and emergency doctor, Dr Ronx is the celebrity ambassador for Living Streets’ walk to school campaign.

Dr Ronx, A&E doctor, author and children’s television presenter said:

“May is Living Streets’ National Walking Month. It’s the perfect excuse to try leaving the car at home for our short trips, such as the journey to school. Health experts recommend children are active for 60 minutes a day to stay healthy and happy. Walking to school is a great way to get those minutes adding up.”

For more information on Walk to School Week, visit livingstreets.org.uk/wtsw

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