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Pupils put their best foot forward

By Liz Nicholls

A primary school has put the brakes on its traffic tribulations thanks to a walk to school scheme run by the KM Charity Team.

Jayden Cundall and Badger Class at Greenvale Infant School, Chatham, celebrate being walk to school champs.
Jayden Cundall and Badger Class at Greenvale Infant School, Chatham, celebrate being walk to school champs.

Not only are fewer cars clogging up the entrance to Greenvale Infant School in Chatham - the morning walk gets the kids wide awake and ready for their lessons.

The school is a member of the Active Wow (Walk on Wednesday) scheme, which rewards children for walking to school once a week. Classes compete with each other, and with classes in other schools, to see who can be the best walkers - and there are prizes and trophies on offer.

Deputy head teacher Lisa Powlesland explained: “We’re on an estate where there are cars parked closely and we do have a few traffic issues, so we encourage green travel. We have children walking up the drive; we don’t want too many cars.

“Obviously when children walk to school we’ve got less traffic. And a lot of people who live very close don’t need to get in the car.”

It’s not just a safety issue – the children arrive at the school in Symons Avenue more alert after getting fresh air and exercise.

“We like the children to get a nice active start to their day. It gets them awake and ready to get straight on with learning,” Lisa said. “Those who have travelled in the car are a bit more sluggish!”

PE lead Ria Cairns added: “I think it’s really important that we encourage children to stay healthy, and the walk to school initiative really supports that – plus it’s got other benefits, including road safety for the children.”

Last month’s prize for being the best walkers went to the six and seven-year-olds in Badger Class, who were extremely excited to win vouchers to Diggerland.

Lisa added: “We use our school Ping app to give information about the class of the week - the ones we’re most proud of, the ones who have been active, and the ones who have been the best learners. All those things are tied in with walking to school.”

Organisations supporting the KM Charity Team’s green travel work with schools include Whites Transport, Ashford International Hotel, Orbit, Volker Highways, Countrystyle Recycling, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Specsavers, Eurostar, Kent County Council, Medway Council, London Borough of Bexley, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Maidstone Borough Council, and Ashford Borough Council.

Schools interested in joining the scheme can visit www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk or contact Sarah Clyne on 0844 264 0291 or sclyne@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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