We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy adults. The school run is a great way to add more exercise to their daily routine.
Kids love spending time with their parents on the school run so we encourage parents to find some extra time in their busy lives to walk, cycle or scoot their kids to school. Even if it's only once a week this time becomes a special time in the life of a child.
Don't let rainy weather stop you! It's England, it rains and rain is great fun for children. Puddles, wellies and umbrellas are all part of the adventure.
Does £367 a year better off sound good? That’s how much sustainable transport charity Sustrans calculates it costs on average per child for the school run if driven to school. Public transport or car-sharing could be more convenient and you could save you a fortune! Alternatively, switch to walking or cycling and you will spend virtually nothing on the school run.
It’s important that children do plenty of physical activity to build a healthy body. We would like to see all kids do 60 minutes of activity a day to help them stay happy and healthy. The 60 active minutes can be broken up into smaller sessions and along with sports, walking and cycling to school count!
Healthy exercised bodies make healthy minds; research is increasingly showing links between physical fitness and academic achievement. Getting some exercise on the way to school helps children to arrive alert and ready for the day.
Not to mention the benefits for your children’s mental health, too?
Scientists have discovered that exercise makes your brain release chemicals that make you feel good - the same chemicals that you get from antidepressants. For mild depression, research shows that physical activity can be as good as antidepressants or psychological treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Catching the bus, riding their bikes or simply walking to school allows children the freedom and ability to start looking after themselves. This sense of independence will enable them to grow up with confidence.
More information is on the Mega Motion pages
If this information has inspired you to walk, cycle or scoot your way to school, please ask your school for information on initiatives they are currently running. Most schools welcome opportunities to reduce the cars at the school gates.
Walk to School – get some fresh air and enjoy quality time with the kids
Walking Train – if you don’t have time to walk with your kids, maybe they could join an organised walking group to their school
Cycle to School – hop on your bike and see how fun, and fast, cycling to school can be
'Park and Stride It' - if you have to drive then why not try parking further away from school and walk the last 5 minutes
Share the school run and have more fun – if you know other parents that make the same journey then why not share the job and cost of driving the kids to school?
There are various programmes that are delivered into schools throughout the Tees Valley, these include cycling training, pedestrian training, and road safety programmes that your child's school can take part in if they are signed up or interested. For more information visit our activities in schools pages.
Bikeability is today’s cycle training programme. It’s like cycling proficiency, but better! It’s about gaining practical skills and understanding how to cycle on today’s roads. Bikeability gives everyone the skills and confidence for all kinds of cycling.
There are three Bikeability levels, each designed to improve cycling skills, no matter what is known already. Levels 1, 2 and 3 take trainees from the basics of balance and control, all the way to planning and making an independent journey on busier roads.
Your school may already have signed up to receive Bikeability sessions! Contact your school directly to find out if sessions are scheduled for this year.
To find out more about Bikeability and to find a trainer in your area lease visit the Bikeability website
Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSO)
Every primary school is encouraged to appoint two pupils, ideally one from Year 5 and one from Year 6 to become JRSO’s for their school. The aim is that they will raise awareness of road safety to pupils, parents, teachers and the local community through the promotion of different road safety themes. These themes are broad enough to include your school’s own initiatives.
The JRSO also provide a link between the road safety team and the pupils. We have a full packet of information available to any school or teacher interested in facilitating this programme.
For more information about JRSO please contact:
- Darlington: Denise Caley email: Denise.Caley@darlington.gov.uk or call 01325 406695
- Middlesbrough: Lynn Hepworth, Road Safety Officer email Lynn Hepworth@middlesbrough.gov.uk
Pedestrian Training (also in Teacher section)
The aim of pedestrian training is to improve children’s perception of speed and distance and to develop good road safety behaviour and crossing practices.
Pedestrian Training is available for Year 1-3 children in all Darlington’s Primary Schools. All training is of a practical nature. Children are encouraged to learn by doing rather than by having to learn a series of rules to follow. The course content is delivered by several short sessions approximately 30-45 minutes in duration and the course is normally completed within 3 weeks.
The main topics will be vocabulary, behaviour, identifying safe crossing places and developing a crossing strategy for general every day use and completed over a period of time according to the child’s understanding of the issues. For more information please contact the following depending upon where you reside in the Tees Valley:
Darlington: email: Dawn.Harker2@darlington.gov.uk or phone 01325 406697.
Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton on Tees: email
Redcar & Cleveland:
We have created travel maps for all primary and secondary schools within Darlington, to help you choose the best and safest walking and cycling routes for you and your children, along with bus stops nearby.
- Bishopton/Redmarshall CE Primary School (pdf)
- Corporation Road Community Primary School (pdf)
- Federation of Abbey Schools (pdf)
- Federation of Mowden Schools (pdf)
- Firthmoor Primary School (pdf)
- Gurney Pease Academy (pdf)
- Harrowgate Hill Primary School (pdf)
- Heathfield Primary School (pdf)
- Heighington RC Primary School (pdf)
- High Coniscliffe CE Primary School (pdf)
- Holy Family RC VA Primary School (pdf)
- Hurworth Primary School (pdf)
- Mount Pleasant Primary School (pdf)
- Northwood Primary School (pdf)
- Polam Hall School (pdf)
- Red Hall Primary School (pdf)
- Reid Street Primary School (pdf)
- Skerne Park Academy (pdf)
- St Augustine's RC Primary School (pdf)
- St Bede’s RC VA Primary School (pdf)
- St George’s Church of England Academy (pdf)
- St John’s Church of England Academy (pdf)
- St Mary's Cockerton Primary School (pdf)
- St Teresa’s RC VA Primary School (pdf)
- The Education Village (pdf)
- The Rydal Academy (pdf)
- West Park Academy (pdf)
- Whinfield Primary School (pdf)
Traveling to secondary school without mum or dad is many children's first step to independence. We've got lots of information about the benefits of walking or cycling to school and advice on staying safe on the way, plus helpful maps for each of the Darlington secondary schools.