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Travelling to school sustainably

With half of all car trips made in outer London being less than two miles and the school run now accounting for at least one in every five cars on London’s roads, travelling actively and sustainably to school has never been more important.

Benefits of travelling actively and sustainably to school

The benefits of walking, cycling, and scooting the journey to school are well known. For example, we know that pupils who travel actively to school will arrive brighter and more alert, ready for learning as well as generally happier.  

Other benefits include:

  • A cleaner air environment in and around the school
  • Reduced congestion at the school gate
  • Increasing the concentration of children by up to four hours
  • There is a positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance
  • Physical activity encourages healthy growth and development and helps to maintain a healthy weight, improving muscular strength, endurance and flexibility
  • Actively travelling builds exercise into the daily routine; it is recommended that 5 – 18-year olds get 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise every day (NHS, 2021)
  • Less stressed parents trying to find a car parking space.

Active travel tips

We offer a wide selection of FREE walking and cycling initiatives.

Tips for making active travel easier and the school gates clear of traffic and safe:

  • Pushed for time? Walking, cycling or scooting can take less time than in the car, especially if you re-time your journey outside of busy periods. If time still feels tight, commit to actively travelling to school for a couple of days a week and then step it up when you’ve cracked the morning routine.
  • Too far to walk or heading to work? Park and stride it. Where you can, leave your car and walk the last 10 minutes.
  • Bad weather? Keep the all-weather wear to hand and make the journey to school fun.
  • Map out and try out a new route now so that you and your children are more aware and confident.
  • Make it fun - arrange to meet friends and walk together or turn the journey into a game. Are you on a nature trail or playing ‘I Spy?’
  • Buddy up - could you take turns with other families to walk to school? It’s fun for your kids to walk with their friends and easier on you.
  • Walk home and not both ways - is the walk to school too tricky? Can you do the walk home?

Games to make every school journey an adventure:

  • iSpy - See if you spot an object that begins with each letter of the alphabet and then swap over!
  • Scavenger hunt - Create a shortlist of things your children need to look for on their journey. The one that spots most wins!
  • Nature sleuth - Nature is all around no matter where you live. So, how many cats did you see? Which bird is loudest?
  • Categories - Think of a category, like flowers, colours, animals, vegetables, and take it in turns to name something in that category.

Public transport

Plan Your Journey

  • Plan ahead using Transport for London STARS journey planner which has been created for schools across London: Safer Journey Planner.

Travel Safely

  • Covid-19 Guidelines – when travelling, remember to social distance where possible and, if over age 11, you must wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth (unless medically exempt), and always wash your hands before and after every journey.
  • Look after your belongings –  keep your stuff as safe as possible by keeping them in a bag or zipped pocket when not in use,especially items of value.
  • Look at what’s around you – distractions can be dangerous so always pay close attention to what is going on around you. If you are crossing the road remove your earphones and put your phone away.
  • Move away! – if worried about another passenger’s behaviour or if they are doing something dangerous or inappropriate move away, move nearer to the driver or a member of Transport of London staff.
  • Be respectful - as public transport is shared with other people, we need to think of others as well as ourselves; Transport for London have created a Young Persons Behaviour Code  which can be read here.

Paying for your journey

  • 5-10 Zip Oyster photocards -Children aged 5-10 get free travel on all Transport for London transport services with a Zip Oyster photocard.
  • 11-15 Zip Oyster photocards - Children aged 11-15 can get discounted travel on London transport services with a Zip Oyster photocard.
  • 16+ Zip Oyster photocard - Children aged 16-17 can get discounted travel on London transport services with a Zip Oyster photocard.