St Andrew’s C of E Primary School in Bath is holding a Clean Air Day on Thursday 25 January 2018. Everyone is being encouraged to join a walking bus on the way to school to get their Clean Air Day off to a great start! The school, parent volunteers and Bath & North East Somerset Council have been working together to plan the safest, cleanest and most enjoyable route.
The walking bus is an ideal opportunity for families to walk, scoot or cycle to school instead of driving. We’re trying to show that we can reduce the amount of traffic, congestion, parking issues, improve road safety for pupils and other road users and air pollution outside the school and surrounding area whilst getting some exercise at the same time!
The Clean Air Day mascot Percy Parrot is going to be ‘driving the bus’ meeting inside Royal Victoria Park, off Park Lane opposite Tennyson Road and the pelican crossing at 8.15am.
Sue East, Head Teacher said: “Walking, cycling or scooting brings a sense of joy and independence. It’s a great way for children to start their day, helping them be ready to learn, awake and alert, with better focus and concentration.”
Delia Mazanotti-Burns, a parent of children at the school said: “We currently walk to school, but we are trialling this new route away from the main roads - it can only be a positive thing if it gets all of us walking more and the children do not complain about walking like they used to”. Jen Lorrimar-Shanks, also a parent of children at the school said “Socially, it’s great because the children meet other children along the way. My children have formed some good friendships from walking to school and I’m keen to encourage other families to join in”
The Clean Air Day is part of work to improve air quality in Bath, Saltford & Keynsham where Bath & North East Somerset Council has declared air quality management areas. This part of the project is a pilot with St Andrew’s School with the aim to roll it out to other schools in B&NES. It has the support of a range of teams across the authority and considers the safest and cleanest routes to school as well as walking buses and “park and stride” schemes. It also looks to develop advice on reducing exposure to air pollution; promote active travel; raise public awareness and support behavioural change with school children.
Cllr Bob Goodman (Conservative, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Development & Neighbourhoods, said: “This initiative can benefit the whole community; walking buses are a safe and convenient way for children to travel to school and can improve health and wellbeing through walking and talking. It’s also an opportunity for children to learn road and traffic safety; as well as helping to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution around schools and the surrounding area and contributing to a sustainable environment.”
The Council’s Public Health, Public Protection, the Director of Public Health Award, Bikeability, active travel and safer routes to school colleagues are all involved in supporting the initiative to improve air quality, and help people gain better physical health and mental wellbeing.
Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health for Bath and North East Somerset, said: “A walking school bus program increases the number of children walking, cycling or scooting and gives children and adults an opportunity to get some exercise and socialise, all while getting to school on time! It aims to increase daily physical activity, forming healthy habits that can last a lifetime, helping children build strong bones, muscles and joints, and decreasing the risk of chronic disease and obesity.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council has also helped St Andrew’s School to plan a day of fun activities outlined below.
What else is planned?
- Children will take part in lessons and run experiments to find out what’s in our air and find out what we can all do to reduce the amount of pollution we create and avoid it.
- Children are being asked to draw their usual route to school on a map and bring it into school; the children will spend some of the day transferring their route onto one big class map as part of a travel survey.
- The children will start to learn a song/rap entitled ‘Let’s create an air revolution’ which will be recorded in a few weeks and promoted on social media and made available to radio stations.
- Children will be asked to create a poster on what they’ve learnt for homework and enter it into a competition to win prizes. The posters will be themed on anti-idling, active travel and ‘what is in our air’ and will be displayed in public places, as well as featured on social media to spread the messages to the wider public.