Home » Edinburgh schools ready to celebrate 15 years of UK’s largest active travel to school challenge

Edinburgh schools ready to celebrate 15 years of UK’s largest active travel to school challenge

Schools in Edinburgh still have time to sign up to the UK’s largest walking, scooting and cycling to school challenge.

Taking place 11-22 March 2024, the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel inspires pupils to make active journeys to school, improving air quality in their neighbourhood and discovering how these changes benefit the world around them.

Now in its 15th year, the event sees schools across Scotland and the UK compete each day to make the most journeys by travelling actively to school.

The challenge is delivered by Sustrans, the charity that aims to make walking, wheeling and cycling easier, in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and headline sponsors Schwalbe Tyres UK.

Dr Cecilia Oram, Head of Behaviour Change, at Sustrans said: “Millions of pupils have risen to the challenge and embraced walking, scooting and cycling throughout these past 15 years of Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel, and this time it’s going to be bigger than ever.

“Not only are pupils and their families enjoying quality time together during an active school commute, but they’re also improving traffic congestion and air quality around their schools.”

Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel is open to all primary and secondary schools in the UK, including SEN/ASN/ALN schools, with prizes to be won every day.

The prizes on offer to schools this year include Micro Scooters, Frog bikes and Cyclehoop cycle parking and infrastructure.

Free resources are available to encourage pupils to help reduce air pollution and learn about the benefits of active travel for themselves, their schools, their neighbourhoods, and the planet.

Alison McLean, Acting Headteacher at Queensferry Primary School in Edinburgh, said: “Last year, our pupils had so much fun walking and cycling to school with their friends and family.

“We noticed they arrived at school refreshed and ready to learn. We were also thrilled to come in first place in the large primary school category in Scotland.

“I would encourage more schools to sign up to the Big Walk and Wheel as it’s a great way for young people to learn more about the local environment, air quality and how it affects them.”

15 years of the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel in Scotland

Since data collection for the challenge began in 2011, just over 1.5 million miles1 have been travelled by pupils taking almost 2.3 million active travel journeys to school in Scotland.

That equates to around 19 trips to the moon, or over 180 journeys around the Earth1, saving just under 1,200 tonnes of CO2 polluting the air on the school run, from 3.1 million car journeys had the participants been driven to and from school1.

Just over 340,000 active journeys to 340 participating schools took place in Scotland during the 2023 challenge, saving just over an estimated 240 tonnes of CO2 emissions if the journeys logged had otherwise been made by car2.

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director at Sustrans, said: “For 15 years, pupils across Scotland have enjoyed taking part in the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel. Parents save money by not having to drive and children get to be out and about exploring their world.

“The challenge shows that a healthier, more enjoyable and sustainable journey to school is possible. We want to transform school runs across Scotland by making it easier for all families to walk, wheel or cycle to school.”

Join in

Comment and share your active journeys to school, using the hashtag #BigWalkandWheel

Find out more about registering for the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel 2024.

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