Thursday, July 18, 2024
Local News from North & South Tyneside

Striding ahead: Benton Dene Primary tops national active travel table

A primary school in North Tyneside is celebrating after topping a national league table for active travel.

Benton Dene Primary has been working with the Council and the charity Living Streets to encourage more families to walk or wheel to school each day. The project includes a scheme to restrict vehicle access at peak times, making active journeys safer and reducing congestion outside the school gates.  

As part of the Living Streets WOW challenge, students log their daily journeys and earn badges for walking, cycling, scooting, or using the ‘Park and Stride’ option of driving part of the journey and walking the rest.

In October 2023, 93% of journeys to and from the school were active, with 53% walking the entire distance and only 7% of journeys were by car, in stark contrast to the 41% national average for 5–10-year-olds.

This placed Benton Dene first on the WOW Top Ten leaderboard for England, making it the first North East school to do so, and they’ve maintained a 57% average walk-to-school rate since autumn 2023.

Ashleigh Lawrence, Acting Headteacher at Benton Dene Primary School, said: “The WOW – Walk to School scheme has had a huge impact. By prioritising fitness, we’re not only addressing the need to increase activity levels but also witnessing the reduction of congestion in the local area. Alongside the road closure on Clydesdale Avenue, we are fostering a safer and more sustainable environment for our children and community.”

The introduction of a School Street scheme by the Council has helped to create a safer environment around the school gates during drop-off and pick-up times, encouraging safer walking and cycling.

Councillor Hannah Johnson, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Introducing the School Streets scheme to Benton Dene has been transformative. It helps to improve safety and allows young people the opportunity to develop healthier habits, and aligns with our vision of a healthier, safer community.”

uring a special assembly, Mary Glindon MP and Councillor Janet Hunter met with students to congratulate them on their success.

Cynthia Games, Schools Coordinator at Living Streets, said: “It’s fantastic to see pupils from Benton Dene Primary School sharing their success with Mary Glindon MP today. The WOW Top Ten challenge adds an enjoyable competitive aspect to walking to school, promoting students’ health and wellbeing while reducing congestion and pollution around the gates.”

For more details on how schools can engage in initiatives like the WOW challenge visit livingstreets.org.uk/wtso.