Over a million British children have never walked to school
- Despite almost half (47%) of British primary school children living within just one mile of the school gates, over a million have never walked to school
- Walking to school has declined 62% over the past 50 years
- Parents blame ease and convenience for their reliance on the car, despite four out of five (79%) children expressing a keen desire to pound the pavement with them
- Over half (58%) of parents readily admit that their own children have petitioned for them to ditch the car in favour of walking
As children across the country get settled into their second week of the new school term, new research by British clothing brand Regatta has revealed that Britain’s schoolchildren are being denied the chance to walk to school by parents who are choosing the speed and convenience of motorised forms of transport over healthy walking.
The cross-generational study has found that a shocking 17% of primary school aged children have never walked to school, despite almost half (47%) living within one mile of the school gates.
It was also revealed that the number of kids who walk to school has declined by 62% since the 1960s, when kids walked to school an average of almost 14 weeks more a year than schoolchildren nowadays.
While 38% of parents readily concede that in an ideal world they would walk their kids to school every day, almost half of them (46%) admit to not encouraging their children to walk to school.
The excuses as to why they chose the car instead of walking include “It’s quicker” (38%), “It’s more convenient” (27%) and simply “It’s easier for me” (23%).
In their quest for convenience, parents are ignoring their kids, who find the walk to school fun (45%) and an opportunity to spend time with friends (25%), get some fresh air (29%) and do classic childhood activities like splash in puddles (15%).
It emerges that over half of schoolchildren (58%) have even petitioned their parents to ditch the car and pound the pavements with them.
The dying tradition of the walk to school has not gone unnoticed by the older generations, with 73% of parents and 96% of grandparents concerned that kids walk to school less than they did when they were little.
Actress and mother of two Jo Joyner says: “My children started school this week and whilst they skipped merrily through the gates, I was bereft! It’s really important to me that we walk to school together as much as possible so that we can get excited about the new day ahead and talk about any worries or fears they might have. I’m very lucky that our village school is a pretty walk through the church yard and down the lane, even if we do always have to detour into the park on the way home! I see the mums, dads and grandparents frantically trying to avoid the traffic wardens and grab the last space and I think I’d much rather leave that extra half hour and walk.
“Of course it’s not always possible in this busy world, but I’m so aware that before I know it my little boy will be teenage and offer just a grunt about what he’s been up to and my girl won’t think she needs me because she’s all grown up. So, I’m making the most of splashing in puddles, spotting slugs and hide and seek on our way home for now. I’ll definitely be downloading the Regatta adventure guide to see what else the twins and I can get up to on our school walk.”
Regatta Marketing Director, Jo Hawkins commented: “It’s incredibly sad to see the huge decline in kids walking to school, particularly with the knowledge that most children are more eager than ever to get out in the fresh air.
“Thinking back to my own childhood, I struggle to remember a time when I went to school in the car, which really goes to show how much things have changed over the years.
“At Regatta, our hope is that we can help equip parents and their families to be able to embrace the outdoors, and walk to school more often.”
Regatta has created a Walk to School Adventure Guide, which is available to download via the Regatta website and contains tips on how to make the most of the walk to school, as well as cunning tricks on speeding up the journey time without compromising on the fun factor.
I am very proud that we walk to school what ever the weather and in the last two weeks we have really tested the coats we were sent to review as we have seen, what can only be described as, biblical rain which of course only starts as we walk out the door!
Probably my favourite coat is Sebastian’s Fox Puddle suit as it certainly has the cute factor and draws lots of attention when he is spotted. Eliza has a gorgeous purple Parka, which unlike many children’s coats is nice and long, coming down to her knees, which keeps her nice and dry. Isaac has a lighter waterproof jacket with a removable fleece lining so it can be used throughout the year and I went for a long length Audrey jacket, which has been great at keeping me dry too! Even the lesser spotted teen got a Parka and has actually worn it, which, if you are the parent of a teen, is a minor miracle.
The PDF is packed full of fun activities for the kids to try from puddle jumping, to counting objects in certain colours and you can adapt it to make the school run fun for weeks to come. The lovely team at @regattaonline are sharing everyones walking to school pictures on their website, simply use the hashtag #itsmyadventure.
Do you and your children walk to school?