News Walthamstow

TfL launches cycle, scoot, or walk to school scheme at Walthamstow primary

London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman met with staff and pupils at Hillyfield Primary Academy on Thursday to highlight the health benefits of active travel

Credit: Sergey Novikov via Canva

A Walthamstow primary was chosen by Transport for London (TfL) for the launch of TfL Travel for Life, a programme designed to get kids walking, cycling or scooting to school.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman met with staff and pupils at Hillyfield Primary Academy in Walthamstow on Thursday (14th September) to highlight the health benefits of cycling and walking to school.

Since 2007, TfL, in partnership with all London boroughs and the London Transport Museum, has run a variety of school programmes for pupils aged 3-17. These are designed to help young Londoners choose active travel options such as walking, cycling and scooting. The majority of London’s 3,313 schools are participating in one or more of the TfL education programmes formerly known as Road Safety Club, STARS, Safety and Citizenship and TravelSmart.

The programmes – now consolidated under a single banner TfL Travel for Life, have accredited nearly half of the 3,313 schools in London with bronze, silver or gold awards. Almost a quarter of these schools have received gold accreditation, which means they have either reduced their car use by 6% or they have more than 90% of their students walking and cycling to school.

Hillyfield Primary Academy is gold-accredited and part of the School Streets Initiative, which sees the imposition of a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times on six surrounding streets, to help tackle road danger and congestion. The school’s façade also features a green wall constructed from vertical ropes and planters which has been constructed to promote wellbeing.

School streets research commissioned by TfL found that parents of children at School Streets schools drove 18% less – with those streets also showing an increase in the number of people cycling per hour. One school recorded a 20% increase in walking to school after the scheme was implemented.

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “For 16 years, TfL’s education programmes have worked in London schools to help children travel safely, healthily and sustainably using public transport, walking and cycling. I’m delighted that, through TfL Travel for Life these vital programmes are being refreshed to ensure that next generation are set up to travel sustainably.”

Stephen Edwards, chief executive of Living Streets, the charity behind the national Walk to School campaign, said: “Walking to school has so many benefits for children and their families. From improved physical health to better mental health, independence, and walking is both free and the greenest form of transport. Teachers who take part in our WOW, walk to school challenge say children arrive at school ready to learn and concentrate better in class too. 

“It’s fantastic that TfL are putting the safety of London’s children front and centre by investing in active travel to school. This really helps build healthy habits for life.