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An image showing the school run Chorlton

Boss the school run

Why cycle and
walk to school?

Come on, it's much more fun!

On foot and by bike travel is much more fun for kids. They love being out in the open air, in any weather. Plus you get to spend more quality time with them - a few minutes to talk about your day or to spot things on routes. It's much more appealing than sitting in a car in crawling traffic.

If that isn't enough to persuade you, did you know that 75% of primary school children in Greater Manchester travel less than two kilometres to school? That's a 12 minute walk or a four minute bike ride. Walking, cycling or scooting is easily the least faff option at pick up and drop off time - you don't need to find somewhere to park your car, you can just cruise right up to the school gates. Plus, on foot and by bike is the most reliable way to travel as it will take you exactly the same time, every time. You'll feel less stressed and it's so much better for your physical and mental health.

And if that’s still not enough, think of how much cleaner the air will be with less cars on the road. Pre-pandemic, trips to education generated an estimated 730,000 trips by car per school day. Think of how much clearer the roads would be if more of those journeys were walked or cycled. And how much less hassle it will be for residents and teachers who have to deal with congestion on a daily basis.

Make on foot and by bike travel part of your routine for the school run. You'll be surprised at how good it will make everyone feel.

School Streets in Greater Manchester

GM is delivering the first 50 School Streets by March 2022

Greater Manchester is delivering 50 School Streets to help transform the school run, enable healthier lifestyles and tackle air pollution. A School Street is a road outside a school with restrictions on motor traffic at school drop off and pick up times. The city region-wide initiative will enable tens of thousands of Greater Manchester children to breathe cleaner air on the school run – with at least one project planned in all 10 GM council areas. In most cases, a School Streets project consists of a traffic regulation order and related signage. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each school has different problems that need solving and councils should will consider a range of solutions beyond timed closures. School Streets can be upgraded in the longer term to combine the timed access restriction with street designs improvements, focusing more on the needs of people and place.

Other measures have can also been used to create an appealing, child-friendly environment. These include temporary traffic filters, flower planters and chalk spray paint to increase pavement space around the school, prevent pavement parking, slow traffic and create new, temporary crossing points. If proven effective, these can be translated into permanent designs.

Residents, local businesses within the restricted area, and blue badge holders can still maintain access to streets. If you are a GM-based school interested in getting involved, contact your local council to register your interest.

A child cycling to school with parents down a quiet road

People who walk for more than eight minutes per day are 33% more likely to report better mental health.

A stress-inducing pick up and drop off

Teachers, is the school run a nightmare with cars mounting pavements and traffic jams galore? You're not alone.

If the daily school run is causing you a headache with cars mounting pavements, blocking residents' driveways, traffic chaos and children almost being hit by cars, unfortunately you are in good company. This is a common experience across the United Kingdom and Greater Manchester is no exception. Listen to Gavin Shortall, Headteacher at St James' C of E school in Rusholme, talk about his experiences. Then scroll down for tips on how to turn things around.

Two thirds of teachers would support a ban on motor vehicles outside the school gates during school drop off and pick up times.

The school run, ride, scoot, wheel and walk

Cale Green Primary School in Stockport enjoys extremely high levels of walking and cycling.

Some schools across Greater Manchester have found clever ways to get extremely high levels of children cycling and walking to school every day. Cale Green in Stockport is one.

As well as working with the council to restrict immediate access to cars at their school gates, they work closely with charity Living Streets to offer incentives to kids, including a travel tracker which they complete to get free badges. The school has also found low-cost ways to inspire more car-free journeys such as regular free breakfasts, longer breaktimes for kids who regularly arrive on foot or by bike and they pay for yearly, free on-site bike maintenance as well as a fleet of free balance bikes for nursery kids. They also make a point of doing school trips to local landmarks on foot.

'It was fairly stressful. It wasn't a pleasant experience before. Now we actually get to school quicker. My kids love it!'

Hear Mark's story about why he changed how he gets his kids to and from school and the difference it has made to them all.

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