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NOW CLOSED: It's Walking to School Week: talk to Kia about your DC walking to school – you could win a £150 voucher and a weekend loan of a Kia Carens

(141 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 17-May-13 12:07:43

You may know that week starting 20 May 2013 is Walk to School Week which promotes the benefits of walking to school.

In support of this campaign the car folks, Kia, have a scheme called the Walking Bus where they supply schools with all they need to encourage children to walk to school (for example by providing high viz bibs) and parents take on the role of a 'driver' and 'conductor' to escort children on a designated route to school.

Kia say "Did you know that over the past couple of decades, the number of children walking to school has fallen sharply. In 2011, 49% of primary school aged children and 38% of secondary school aged children walked to school, down from 62% of primary and 48% of secondary school aged children in 1991".

Kia would love to know what you think about this and the Walking Bus scheme and how you're going to get involved in Walk to School Week this year.

Please share on this thread....
~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?

Everyone who shares a tip, story or thought on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £150 voucher for wallpaperdirect and a weekend loan of a Kia Carens*.

Thanks and good luck,
MNHQ

* ps car loan will be dependent on acceptance of Kias T&Cs which will be emailed to the winner

FannyFifer Fri 17-May-13 16:32:20

We always walk to school as it takes less than a minute. grin

ScienceRocks Fri 17-May-13 16:38:24

We walk to school and nursery. It is only five minutes away, and means we can get there even when the roads are too icy for driving. It also means there aren't any worries about parking. I think walking buses are a great idea, but I can see how they would be difficult to keep going.

Bert2e Fri 17-May-13 17:08:00

We walk 0.6 miles each way each day and it's fine! We've always done it and the boys are used to it. Parents who will not walk make me very cross and the traffic around school is terrible because of them. I just walk home, pick up the car and then go to work

tallulah Fri 17-May-13 17:08:10

We've just started walking to school, although not when it's really tipping down. School is 20 mins walk away, then I have another 20 min walk on to work. To get my hours in I really don't have time for a gentle stroll.

Most of the children at the school come from an area on the other side of the dual carriageway (as is the school) so there wouldn't be enough for a walking bus from our way. I wouldn't join a walking bus scheme anyway because there is no way I could volunteer to be an escort - there just isn't time in the mornings.

MirandaWest Fri 17-May-13 17:22:00

We live about 3 minutes away from school so walk. But when I work in one location I am meant to be at work at the same time as breakfast club (next door to school) opens. So those days I drive there and drive on to work. Am doing a lot of that work next week so not sure if DC will walk at all next week blush.

BedHog Fri 17-May-13 18:09:27

We always walk. It's a bit hilly and the pavements are always covered in dog cronk but it gives us regular exercise (I feel unfit after school holidays as I miss the 50 or so minutes exercise each day!). It's about a 12 minute walk (at DS pace) but that works out quicker than getting DS and baby DD and the buggy into the car, parked, out of the car and into school. I wish more parents would walk as it's a bit of a bottleneck near the school gates and despite numerous pleas in the school newsletter and visits from the police and traffic wardens, a few selfish parents choose to drive and put others at risk.

I'd love a walking bus. I should imagine it would be a nightmare to run, with children running off, hiding in gardens, squabbling, stepping in poo etc. but in theory it's a good idea.

aristocat Fri 17-May-13 18:10:43

We also walk to school everyday. It is only about 10 minutes away.

The walking bus is a brilliant idea and it would work in my area because we do have lots of walkers.

The dog mess hmm is our main hazard! And icy pavements can be very dangerous. DS is yr 6 so he usually walks without me and DD.

We already do the school run on foot everyday as it is quicker than in the car, it gets us some fresh air and saves on petrol.

I am unsure if a walking school bus would work in our area, its a very busy industrial area, with a busy dual carriageway right outside the school. I know parents worry about their own child's safety and may not feel comfortable supervising others too and increasing their ratio of children to adult.
My son has special needs and needs constant supervision so I wouldn't feel comfortable with him using a walking bus, however we walk to school everyday anyway so it's not an issue.

ouryve Fri 17-May-13 18:49:26

Macdog - the times we gave up, the roads were just as bad and there were cars sliding around everywhere. It's been twice in 6 years.

meglet Fri 17-May-13 19:19:33

~ We walk to school and back approx 75% of the time. TBH I prefer it but if I have to run an errand before work, it's heavy rain or we're under the weather, late, stressed then I take the car. Disadvantages are carrying all our clutter (that's usually left up to me), whingy kids, dog mess, dawdling. Advantages are that it keeps us fit and saves using petrol.

They already have a walking bus at the DC's school. He does it approx once a month.

Nehru Fri 17-May-13 19:23:01

i dont walk my kids to school - get this, they go by themselves

Often the cat goes too and they look rather sweet tootling off with a feline escort.

The cat stays for the morning then comes home. He has been run over once, the kids are all still alive.

We always walk. It is a no choice thing to be honest, I don't drive. I don't mind it but then we walk alot anyway.

The biggest cons are drivers! It is an accident waiting to happen at our school. Most seem to drive (I have seen people driving from the next street, 3 minutes walk at the most). They double park and block pavements forcing buggies and children to walk in the road. I have had to drag ds out of the way of cars being driven along the pavement more than once sad

PiHigh Fri 17-May-13 19:45:54

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
We always walk to school as it's just round the corner. It's nice to walk together and we chat on the way. The main disadvantage is having to cross the road with all the school traffic parked on/driving along and the dog poo on the pavements angry

Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
We always walk anyway

Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say
I'm not sure. I think most people walk if they can. The ones who don't tend to be trying to get to work or they live quite far away. I would perhaps like to see some system where people are encourage to park a few streets away and walk from there so as to alleviate the problems of parking and general busy roads right next to the school.

Tortoise Fri 17-May-13 19:53:56

We always walk to school. It's a mile each way. In bad weather it's not much fun but we survive! grin
I don't drive but I think even if I did I would only drive if it was really wet.
Walking bus wouldn't really work for us, part of the journey is not near any other school children so would still need to walk half of it. We are quite rural and live outside town.

lorisparkle Fri 17-May-13 20:31:51

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

I walk to school whenever possible - advantages - exercise for all, good for environment, good for finances, less stressful than parking by school.

disadvantages - crossing the road near school, windy and wet weather

~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?

The only days we don't walk to school is if I am working and drop the children at breakfast club before school. It would be impossible to walk to school, walk home, collect car, drive to work, in time!

~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say

I think it would be great if the school had a walking bus and will mention it to them. The parking is appalling. The thing that would make a huge difference is if the road near school had a pedestrian crossing.

LadyLech Fri 17-May-13 21:15:08

We never walk, I always drive.

I live approx a mile from the school. it takes about 20 - 25 mins to get there. Children go to breakfast club at 8:10 am. I start work (13 miles away) at 9am. In the mornings, with rush hour traffic, it takes about 40 - 45 mins to get to work. As I teach being late is non negotiable. So, we have no option but to drive.

If I had to walk, I would have to leave at 7:35, get to school for 8:00, walk back to my house for 8:20 and then arrive at work between 9 and 5 past, and then get the sack for being late and leaving my classes without a teacher, and having nothing prepared for my first class of the day!

So, what would make me walk? well, winning the lottery so I could afford to give up work would help!!

sharond101 Fri 17-May-13 21:45:49

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
My DS isn't yet old enough to go to school and we recently moved house which means it will be really difficult for us to walk given the distance 2.5miles) and how young he will be. I plan to walk to collect him though and take his bike or scooter so we can be car free on the way home.
~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
We tried walking the route to school with the pushchair and it was a success although narrow pavements made it difficult with the dog.
~ If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?
It's not impossible but I will encourage my neighbour who walks very little to join me in walking to collect my DS and her DS.
~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say.
I'd love to see more children walk to school so yes.
~ If you already take part in a Walking Bus to school scheme please share your top tips or things to avoid. What works best?
n/a

takeaway2 Fri 17-May-13 21:57:44

My dh walks the DS who's 5 and in reception, to school which is about just under a mile away. It's both down and uphill. Depending on what happens in the pick up, we either walk or drive him home. Alot of it has to do with his younger sister going to nursery which necessitates driving as it's further away. Therefore we drive.

I think when they both attend the same school, we will be driving less. I will still drive to work in bad weather but it's entirely possible for me to get to work which is another km or 2 away from the school on foot.

I don't walk to school very often. DH does a school/nursery run in the car on his way to work every morning. DS1 could walk to school (he walks home every day) but DH will actually pass the school on his way to nursery so he takes him anyway. The nursery is much too far to walk to. I usually work (FT) at home.

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?

As I said, I very rarely walk to school right now. I've done it about twice in the past year (both times to pick up DS1 and his friend who is visually impaired and has to be accompanied from school). I'd actually have taken the car if DH hadn't taken it to work (we only have one). The main disadvantage were that it was bloody freezing and windy, which made for an unpleasant walk. The weather is a big factor in how much fun walking to and from school is.

It's also really difficult to walk against the stream of children coming from the high school to get public transport home while walking home from the middle school. DS1 seems to manage it, but it's not fun. There are millions of them and not much pavement. I can't imagine how you'd do it with a buggy.

DS1 used to complain about it being very difficult to cross some busy roads (where no crossing or support was provided) when we lived in our old house. He was delighted when we moved house and he no longer had to do this.

I guess the advantage of walking would be that it's exercise, and possibly avoiding the school run parking nightmare. It's actually fine at DS1's school because they've got a drop off/pick up area and a car park you can use. And, as it's a middle school, lots of kids walk on their own. DS2 will be starting first school in September and this will be a big consideration. His school is down a narrow cul de sac with little parking, so I can imagine walking will be much less stressful.

Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!

I have no plans to walk to school until September.

If walking to school would be impossible for you, why is this and is there anything you can do to walk some of the way or to encourage other parents at your school to try the Kia Walking Bus?

I can walk to school if I want to. I just don't have to because DS1 is old enough to walk on his own.

Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school? If so, do share the link with them and let us know what they say

DS1's school has a couple of walking buses already, I think. Neither of them comes anywhere near our house though (because kids round our way usually go to different schools).

KristinaM Fri 17-May-13 23:04:47

My younger children cannot walk to school as there is no safe walking route.the is no pavement for all of the 1.5 miles and they would have to cross a busy dual carriageway

My older child walks part of the way to her school, about 1.5 miles and travels the rest by train. She likes the independence this gives her and enjoys walking with her friends

FannyBazaar Fri 17-May-13 23:35:18

We always walk to school for 2 reasons

1) we don't have a car

2) so many parents drive to school and I know of no other children who walk by themselves, I feel reluctant to send my child on is own, seems it isn't the done thing.

How do I find it? It brings me out in a rage, endless cars racing to get to school on time, no space in the school for all the children and parents/grandparents to pass through the gates without queuing. Roads not safe for children cycling due to the precious kids being taken by car. London school with catchment area of 1/2 mile radius of school, no idea why people are driving.

Walking bus, great idea, would love the whole taking turn thing, it would ease the congestion of every child turning up with parents. Plenty of kids walk our route already. It would allow me to get to work earlier when not 'driving the walking bus' thus finishing earlier, less time in childcare required = excellent idea.

I walk to school every day, I'm a childminder and look after too many children to fit in my car. It's a 15 minute walk, I enjoy seeing people and things around me and I also just enjoy walking. I think its good for children to get fresh air, exercise and learn some road sense. The disadvantages are the weather, particularly rain as its not nice for the kids to be wet all day and not all parents send appropriate clothing. It's got to be easier than loading kids into car trying to find somewhere to park, getting them all out and then getting some back in! Some of the children I mind don't walk other than with me so I have to be careful to make sure they are close and listening but they soon learn how to behave near the roads. I also totally agree about winter walking, councils worry about the roads but pavements are never treated and can be pretty treacherous!

I didn't realise it was walk to school week, which is a shame as its clearly not being publicised in my area.

The scheme wouldn't work for me as I can't see parents paying me to let someone else walk their children to school wink. I personally wouldn't let me ds go to school without me yet and he's 6. I want to see him in and get a chance to chat with his teacher if necessary.

DorisIsWaiting Sat 18-May-13 00:03:13

We don't walk to school as school is in the next village along an Aroad with no path (although that is being addressed).

If and when I do walk the children to school it is more likely to be home from school due to the distance and time issue.

I am not keen on the walking bus as I like being able to chat with the DC's teachers in the morning if I need to (subjects not worthy of a phone call) I also use the time in the playground to learn what else is happening in school.

nextphase Sat 18-May-13 07:02:21

Not at school yet, but we do drop off at nursery every day.
The morning timings mean I really don't have time to walk, and then get to work, but both kids are over the moon if I drop the car off at home, and then walk to pick them up. But everyone thinks I'm bonkers. I get "Oh dear Next, is your car broken"
There is a fundamental mental shift needed - and most of my walk is along paths away from any roads - this place is set up to walk, and WOH parents just don't seem to think about fitting it in.

ScienceRocks Sat 18-May-13 07:33:27

I think Doris makes a good point about missing contact with teachers if there is a walking bus. At my DD1's school, you have to book parents' evening appointments on one particular morning - this is already an issue for those parents who use the local breakfast club because they work and the same would apply for walking buses. Schools need to start doing this kind of thing online! Also I can see that walking buses might be difficult if children have to take a lot of stuff to school, such as musical instruments or big projects, or even just donations for mufti day.

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