What is Bike to School Week?
Organised by the charity Sustrans, Bike to School Week runs between 28th September and 2nd October 2020. In a bid to promote and celebrate the benefits of cycling, scooting and walking, parents and children are being urged to ditch the car or public transport and get active on the school run. Bike to School Week is a great opportunity to promote the positive impact that an active lifestyle can have on pupils’ wellbeing and health. With various activities and resources available on the Sustrans website for use in the classroom, it is easy for schools to get involved.
Who are Sustrans?
Tasked with the challenge of making walking and cycling more appealing and accessible for people nationwide, Sustrans are the custodians of the National Cycle Network, a labyrinth of nearly 13,000 miles of signed routes. As such, they make regular improvements to the maps, signage and pathways across the country, over 5,000 miles of which are traffic-free. They are working in partnership with the Bikeability Trust, the organisation who deliver the government’s cycling education programme in primary schools, on this exciting project aimed at increasing activity levels among parents and children.
Sustrans and their partners work hard to deliver the message that walking or cycling to school not only reduces air pollution, but helps to embed healthy behaviours in our children and young people which in turn will help to prevent ill health.
The key stats
- Whilst Covid-19 encouraged many of us to dust off the bikes in the garage, evidence shows only 2% of children regularly cycle to and from school.
- Over 50% of school journeys 2 miles or less on public transport need to make the switch to cycling or walking. This is to ensure social distancing on public transport for pupils needing to make longer journeys.
- The government’s Chief Medical Officer recommends children and young people (5-18 years) should be regularly getting 60 minutes of physical activity every day, half of which should be provided by schools.
- Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems among children with an estimated prevalence up to 20%
- Higher levels of physical fitness have been associated with lower anxiety levels in children.
How can you get involved?
- Promote Bike to School Week – Run a competition to see which class has the highest percentage of participants throughout the week.
- Deliver the activities – Spend a few minutes each day on the activities from the Sustrans website.
- Register for Bikeability – If your primary school doesn’t currently offer a Bikeability course (usually targeted at Year 5 pupils), check out their website where you’ll find all the information you need to get started.
Register with Bikeability
- Provide 30 minutes physical activity every day – We know how busy your school day can be, but the health and wellbeing of our young people is more important now than ever. Endeavour to find ways of embedding physical activity within your core curriculum subjects.