Sunderland pupils go green and get healthy with walking challenge

Children at St Cuthbert's Primary School meet Strider. L-r, Millie Teasdale, Connor Ganley, Niamh Ford, Byron Evans, Mitchell Taggart and Rosie Teasdale.
Children at St Cuthbert's Primary School meet Strider. L-r, Millie Teasdale, Connor Ganley, Niamh Ford, Byron Evans, Mitchell Taggart and Rosie Teasdale.
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JUMPING for joy, these children are fit and healthy after walking into class.

Schools across Sunderland are taking part in Walk to School Week.

The aim of the initiative is to encourage students and parents to leave the car at home and help the environment, as well as their health, by getting into school on foot.

The week is being promoted by Living Streets, a national charity that stands up for pedestrians. Its mascot Strider visited several primary schools to celebrate the event, including St Cuthbert’s RC, Plains Farm, Ryhope Infants, Barnes Infants, Blackfell, Oxclose and Our Lady Queen of Peace.

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “Walking to school is the cheapest, greenest and easiest way to get children more active and not only is it a fantastic way to help reach the recommended daily 60 minutes of activity, but also a great chance for children to learn vital road safety skills and ensure they are alert and ready to learn at the start of a new day.”

The charity said the number of children walking to school regularly has reached its lowest ever level – just 47 per cent of primary school-aged children now walk to school and 43 per cent are driven in cars.

Tony said: “When children are bundled from front door to car door, they miss out on the opportunity to socialise with friends, get to know their community, and burn off some energy before getting their heads down in the books.”

And, with a quarter of secondary children nationally now classed as obese, the dangers of inactivity are clear.

Also supporting Walk to School Week, and Go Smarter, which is Tyne and Wear’s Sustainable Transport Fund programme, are the students at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy in Thornhill Terrace.

The older girls at the school have designed and produced a Walking Guide for schoolmates and the new Year 7s who will join the school in September.

As well as showing the best walking, cycling and public transport routes to school, the guide also highlights places of interest the children can look out for along the way, making their journey more interesting.

Twitter: @SunEchoSchools