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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

we walk to school every day. it was a big factor in choosing to move back here actually - i wanted a walking distance school for ds to go to both now (primary) and later when he goes to secondary school. i lived close to school as a child and always walked and had the option when i was older of going home at lunchtime for a bit of peace or inviting friends back for lunch. i want ds to have the same.

we live in a village and it stuns me the people who live locally yet try to drive as close to school as possible when the traffic and access is an absolute nightmare. i have heard parents saying they have to drive as because their children 'won't walk' - what?? i've also seen children whining and moaning at having to walk home on a rare occasion after school.

it's quite sociable walking - you tend to see the same parents every day and have a chat and you're children get to walk together.

i'm obviously lucky though that i live close to the school - though not really luck as that was one of the reasons i moved back here despite it not being the best place for me to be socially.

WyrdMother Sun 19-May-13 18:45:01

9 out of ten of our trips to and from school are walked. The advantages are that you get some fresh air and exercise which wakes us up and gets us going for the day, we get a chance to have a chat and we don't have to struggle with parking which is very limited near the school.

The downsides are dealing with the weather, (really not a big deal), lugging all the kits and musical instruments along with us (we share the load) and crossing one somewhat busy road on a blind bend (only one side of the road has footpaths).

Obviously we will be walking as normal during the campaign week.

I know some parents do not walk their children because of time constraints, having to go straight from school drop off to work or the distance to school as we are in a rural area.

I work at the school and know most of the parents, I can't think of any of the top of my head who drive when they could walk.

The walking bus could be useful for parents who need to get straight to work as they could take it in turns and leave for work as soon as their children were picked up. It would also encourage some independence from parents in a controlled way, few children walk to our primary school on their own because of the busy crossing.

We don't normally walk to nursery. The traffic can be so bad that the roads are impossible to cross so it's easier just to drive.

It's also no help that lollipop men and women are stationed AT zebra/pelican/traffic light crossings. If anything these are the places that they shouldn't be needed.

We would maybe walk home from school when there's no time constraints but to school is too stressful.

Walking bus is a great idea. Unfortunately we live quite far from the route that they currently cover. If I'm taking the car I may as well drop DD off as well.

If we lived closer walking wouldn't be a problem. But I have definite issues with poor use of traffic wardens/lollipop people.

gazzalw Mon 20-May-13 07:32:51

We are a car-free family so walking is part and parcel of our everyday lives....DW and the DCs have been doing the school run for nigh on ten years (and she still has a few years to go with DD!) so to say they are experienced is an understatement. I can however report that even DW is finding it a pain now...it's half an hour each way so you can see why she's rather fallen out of love with doing it.

The advantages are distraction-free time with the children, regular exercise which helps parents and children alike with building up bone density, enough time to 'come to' to face the day ahead and the opportunity to catch up with other parents and for the children to see school friends, who are not necessarily classmates, on a regular basis. Also walking is free (if the you discount the extra wear and tear on shoes!).

The disadvantages are mainly to do with the weather in this glorious country of ours hmm, that because we have quite a long walk there is little room for 'hiccoughs' en route which can be quite stressful when working to a tight deadline and that it can seem relentless particularly in the winter....

I think the idea of a walking bus is a good one but it is probably likely to work better in an area with only one primary school (in a village) or in a metropolitan sprawl where a school has a mini catchment area. DD's primary school has a vast catchment area so I'm not sure it would be practicable....

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 20-May-13 11:58:59

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages? We walk one day a week on my day off. It's a lovely time to talk, but does take much longer and limits what I can do on my way home (cannot do the weekly shop for example)

~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences! We'll walk as much as normal, my work means that we cannot walk any more as I go straight from school to work and there's not enough time for me to walk home then get to work on 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 don't think that there are enough children from any area in particular to make it worthwhile.

Reastie Mon 20-May-13 12:47:02

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

DD is too young to go to school but I work in a school, I drive as it's too far to walk (6 miles away). When DD goes to school I will be driving her as it will be too far to walk her every day (3 - 4 miles involving country roads with no footpath and very fast cars). The benefits of walking to school would be the physical exercise/getting to see nature (if you walk past any!)/fresh air/time to talk about things/building good habits for the future. The negatives are if it's too far to walk to the school, if a child is unwell it would be difficult to walk them home from school if they weren't able to, it would be difficult in bad weather.

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

Sorry, no - it's too far!

~ 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 too far to where I work but I imagine when DD goes to school if there was a walking bus that DDs friends went on I would be willing to drive some of the way to get her to walk the rest if she wanted to. It would be a fun thing for her to do with her friends.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 13:15:04

I walk ds to school on a regular basis. It's only a mile away but we face a few difficulties:

1) the first part of our journey is alongside a busy main road which is quite narrow and has a lot of heavy goods vehicles using it. It's also badly potholed and despite being a 40mph most cars go a lot faster.

2) there is a popular garden centre on this road which accounts for a huge percentage of the traffic. The entrance requires cars to drive across the pavement and many don't give way to pedestrians, don't look for pedestrians and often drive right across the pavement before stopping at the road to look for traffic, forcing us to either wait until they've gone or walk around them.

3) we then have to cross a very busy A road which is listed as a notorious accident blackspot. The road merges into 4 lanes at the lights so pedestrians have to cross 2 lanes then wait in the middle to cross over the next two. Many accidents happen with cars using the outside lane to overtake cars at high speeds and not making it, or collding with cars turning. We've witnessed at least 4 accidents here in the last 2 years and there has even been a pedestrian fatality. I've lost count of the number of cars which jump the light just as we are about to cross.

4) the road into the village is also very narrow with a narrow footpath just one side of the road, so narrow that only one person can walk along it safely. This footpath is also very damaged and uneven and usually covered in horse poo so we have to watch our step. Again the danger is from speeding cars travelling very close to the footpath so one false move from my son or me would see us in the road in front of these speeding cars. I have complained to the council for the past year but nothing has been done.

The trouble with organising a walking bus would be that I would hate to be responsible for the safety of a group of children. It's bad enough with my own son let alone someone else's child. If the route was safer then I'd be up for it as I know a few kids who live around here and who go to the same school but unless the council do something about the dangers, I wouldn't want to take the risk.

THERhubarb Mon 20-May-13 13:22:56

Oh I forgot - advantages. I can't say fresh air because there are too many cars around which are polluting the air. You can hardly walk alongside a busy main road and get any fresh air advantages.

It is good exercise however and it does give us a chance to chat as we walk so that's valuable quality time spent with my son. I also don't have to worry about parking as most schools now have a parking issue.

It can be nice in good weather to look at the flowers, plants and birds and you do get a real sense of the changing of the seasons; you notice so much more around you. In the spring we watch for snowdrops and examine the buds on the trees, in the summer we marvel at the huge variety of birds, butterflies, bees and flowers. In autumn we stop for conkers and collect brightly coloured leaves and even apples. In winter we see frost covered spiders webs, bright red berries and we stomp on frozen puddles.

Just a shame our route is primarily given over to cars instead of pedestrians.

NaturalBaby Mon 20-May-13 13:27:06

I love walking to school but struggle if we leave too late or have a lot to carry, or if the dc's are tired. My 3yr old gets very cold and struggles to manage the last part of the journey when the temperature drops. Our route floods when it rains a lot but we manage with a buggy. My dc's love riding their bike/scooter now the weather is warmer but would ask to go in the car most days in the winter.

This week we will be walking to school as much as possible as we normally do.

Walking to school will soon be impossible as we are due to move and there is a dual carriageway between the school and our new house.

There are very few families who live within walking distance to our school.

PostBellumBugsy Mon 20-May-13 13:32:38

If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages?
N/A
~ Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!
N/A
~ 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 drop the DCs off on the way to work, which is 10 miles away. There is no way I could walk them to school & get to work on time. I like the idea of a walking bus & would be happy as class rep to circulate information about it & put posters up in the school.
~ Would you like to see this scheme introduced to your child's school?
I think it is a good idea and will share the link.
~ 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

avelte Mon 20-May-13 13:42:43

i have four kids from 7 -23 years old, i always walked to school,since with my first kid,different school,different ares where i lived,all in London though...but is good for kids..they dont do much activity these days as computers took over all the fun..so we love our walking twice a day...

emily80 Mon 20-May-13 13:53:42

We always walk to school, I think it's really important to teach my children good habits, I think too many people these days jump in the car to go everywhere. We enjoy our walks - on the way there we call for a friend and walk down with them, and on the way home we look in the gardens and talk about the plants etc.

The roads around school get really congested and busy and it is difficult to park, so walking seems a lot less stressful. I also think it's safer for everyone, as it's dangerous for children to have a lot of traffic around as they're walking to school (especially when people park directly opposite the school and other places they're not meant to).

puddock Mon 20-May-13 14:13:00

We are 15 mins away and walk most of the time (unless school drop off is on the way to a further appointment or weather is foul). It takes no longer than driving and puts everyone in a better mood for the day.
I usually walk with my toddler DS2 in a sling on my back, while DS1 scoots. DS2 is allowed a go on the scooter on the way home again.

lisanorfolk Mon 20-May-13 14:48:33

Unfortunately we live in the country side and the nearest school (which my 5yr old attends) is over a mile away, I would love to walk to school with Tiana but as she has health issues this is just not possible for her, she was born with heart problems so tired very quickly.
My son also goes to the local high school and thats over 3 miles away so not an option for him either so he catches the bus to school .

flapjack35 Mon 20-May-13 14:53:34

I always make sure my 13 year old walks to school with friends, although his school is around the corner, you have to cross a busy road to get to it, which is a pain at peak times.

insanityscratching Mon 20-May-13 16:33:41

We don't walk because dd doesn't go to the local school so we drive. The school she goes to is in the process of setting up walking buses for those who live locally so I'll share the link with them.
I would have liked to walk her to school but as she has SEN getting the right school to meet her needs is more important than the means of getting there tbh.
On walk to school week we park a little further away so that she is still taking part and that's good enough for us and school.

EstoyAqui Mon 20-May-13 16:48:11

I love walking and would really like to be able to walk DD to school and DS to preschool. Where we live it is not going to happen for us anytime soon though. sad

* If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages? *
We do not walk to school. DD's school is about 4miles away and would involve traipsing over several fields and walking down a very steep lane road with no footpath. I am not prepared to do that with a buggy.

* Are you able to try walking to school during the campaign week? If so please return to this thread and share your experiences!*
We will not be able to try during campaign week. I do try to park away from the school and walk to the gate. I hate those parents who circle around waiting for a closer parking space.

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?
See above. There is no safe provision for me to walk to school with DD.

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
DD's school is pretty clued up on walking to school. They promote it regularly and encourage, where possible, parents to take part.

WomblesOfCairngorm Mon 20-May-13 17:31:31

We walk (or more usually scooter or cycle) every day rain or shine. Initially it was a nightmare as there are no pavements, however after 2 terms it is much easier and cars are far more aware of us and giving us space. Cars also tend to slow down a bit now when they see us.

WomblesOfCairngorm Mon 20-May-13 17:37:07

My tip is:
If the road is quite narrow, to stop cars from trying to squeeze past we all cycle down the middle of the road so they don't squish up

WowOoo Mon 20-May-13 18:03:36

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

In nice weather we walk part of the way, with Dh or myself depending on our work that week. It's a nice chance for a chat, it's good exercise and I think my son is fresher for school when he's walked and had a bit of fresh air.
The disadvantage is that the school is just too far to walk the whole way. Plus, with a three year old who'll get tired more quickly, it's too hard.
We've been trying to walk more since it's been warmer.
Rain doesn't bother me. We all have raincoats.

The walking bus sounds great. Our school is taking part in it, so I'll ask other mums what they think too and get back to the thread.

BlueberryHill Mon 20-May-13 18:20:55

~ If you normally walk to school: how you find this? What are the advantages and what are the disadvantages? We used to walk to school, it took about 20 mins. However when it was snowy I couldn't get the buggy up the black ice on the pavement or road. I was stuck until someone helped me. It is uphill all the way to school and I have 2 yo twins so I now cannot get the buggy up the hill anymore and they are too small to walk there and back. So we now drive to school.

~ 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? See above, I cannot physically get the twins to school at the moment. However when they are older, we will all walk together. Unfortunately we had a Walking bus scheme but it closed down due to lack of interest.

MerryMarigold Mon 20-May-13 19:46:36

We walk to school. The downside is the ridiculous amount of traffic around the school, including cars parked on corners, which makes visibility difficult, and cars reversing etc. There's 1 road which is a complete nightmare to cross in these conditions with 2 Nursery aged kids, and one Y2 child.

I think the difficulty with walking bus would be getting the younger children to their classroom. They really need someone to make sure they have got into their class which would be impossible if you had even 6 kids, all in different classes. I wouldn't feel comfortable being responsible for other people's children and the whether they were safely in school or not.

missorinoco Mon 20-May-13 19:57:39

We walk to school unless I am going on somewhere else requiring driving after drop off.

My tip is to add another ten minutes onto the time you actually need to leave the house. Then when you have to find the lost shoes/bag/abandon redressing the toddler and stuff him in the buggy you are still on schedule. This does mean on the rare occasion nothing goes wrong you will be early, but you can then allow the children to dawdle to their hearts contents, thus still arriving just on time.

FannyBazaar Mon 20-May-13 20:33:55

MerryMarigold surely the walking bus is just for taking the children to school, they go into the class by themselves don't they? I've never taken my DS into class and if dropped of by Breakfast Club he certainly isn't taken to class.

tourdefrance Mon 20-May-13 20:43:13

We walk to school everyday. It's just around the corner. No walking bus at our school but I like the idea for when dc are a bit older as we are likely to move further from the school and it would be good to have this option. We are always prepared for the weather and cleared the pavement in front of our house when we had snow earlier this year in the hope others would do the same.
Advantages - fresh air, exercise, changing seasons as others have mentioned, also feel part of the local community, chat with neighbours.
I work too but choose to use public transport and fixed my hours around that. I could do an extra few hours if I drove but would miss the exercise.
Reception was quite hard work due to tiredness after school. Y1 much better.

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