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Pupils back campaign to keep cars away from school gates
Pupils put their best foot forward as part of a weeklong campaign to reduce the number of cars outside their school.
Marine Park First School in Whitley Bay held a ‘Walk to School Week’ all this week (March 18-22).
The idea was to encourage parents to avoid dropping their children off outside the school gates.
Surveys have shown that 31.5 per cent of all Marine Park pupils are driven to school and 12.7 per cent of pupils are driven a distance of less than 800 metres.
Parents were given temporary free use of two nearby car parks, which was arranged by the North Tyneside Council, to leave their cars and then walk the rest of the way to the school.
Schoolchildren had previously designed parking permits to display on the car’s dashboard.
The campaign was supported by Go Smarter in North Tyneside, which is provided for North Tyneside Council by its partner Capita.
Its aim was to benefit pupils’ health and improve their safety by cutting down the amount of vehicles near the school.
On the first morning of Walk to School Week, head teacher Stephen Easton met scores pupils and their parents near Whitley Bay skatepark and together they walked along the promenade to school.
Along the way, pupils took part in a quiz set by the Go Smarter team about sustainable travel as well as maths questions based on Whitley Bay’s regeneration.
The Go Smarter team previously delivered a presentation at the school’s assembly about sustainable travel and air quality.
Mr Easton said: “We want to encourage sustainable, safe travel, the benefits of an active lifestyle and reduce traffic around the school gates.
“We are grateful to the Go Smarter team for helping us to achieve these aims. We also hope the children enjoyed walking to school and trying to answer maths questions about their local area.”
Cllr Carl Johnson, cabinet member for Environment and Transport, said: “As a council, we’re committed to encouraging active and sustainable ways to travel.
“Our Go Smarter team is carrying out some important work to make it easier for parents and their children to walk or cycle to school.
“I fully support Marine Park First School’s Walk to School Week which has proved a big success.”
The GoSmarter in North Tyneside initiative aims to encourage sustainable travel. It not only seeks to change pupil, parent and staff behaviour but can also involve physical changes to streets near schools.
The initiative was shaped by a study of walking and cycling measures surrounding schools in the borough, which won the Sustainable Project of the Year at the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) North East & Cumbria Annual Awards last year.