Topic: In the News
Today is the start of National Walk to School Week. In October, there will be another event, International Walk to School Week. If your children's schools are not taking part in the National initiative then, hopefully, they will promote the International event in the autumn. Why is this important? Well, health for one thing. Children today don't get enough exercise and walking or cycling to school will help to combat child obesity and will keep them fit.
My grandchildren walk the mile or so to their school each day but, nationally, it seems that this is becoming a dying practise. Part of the reason is that parents worry about road safety or 'stranger danger'. They are 'rushed off their feet' so they take the easy way out and use the car. Did you know that the school run contributes to 1 in 5 of all cars during the morning rush hour? This increase in road traffic causes congestion and is directly related to the number of car accidents involving school children, which rise during term time. It seems that this accident rate could be dramatically lowered by the implementation of staggered school hours. This is something which is already happening in the Chichester area with at least one secondary school starting extra early — although I think the real reason was the availability of school buses!
If walking is out of the question, what other action can you take? Well, car sharing is one answer - organise a rota to take your child and your child's friends to school. This simple solution will have an impact on the problem of school gate congestion. Many local schools have already registered with the West Sussex Young TransNet to formulate School Travel Plans and make school journeys safer. Make sure you support your school by doing your bit as a parent.