The Public Health Minister along with other active travel organisations is recommending that families use the journey to school as an opportunity to enjoy a walk.

Schools are now largely filled with pupils once more and families are encouraged to walk, wheel, skip, scoot or cycle rather than jumping in a car. This is part of government strategy to support active school journeys and is part of The Scottish Government’s Clear Your Head campaign. The aim is to make Scotland the first Daily Mile Nation and builds on the activity which was a spin-off from the lockdown in the last year. By August 2020 the number of adults who went outdoors at least once a week had increased to 80%. This was continued last September when more than half of school pupils walked, scooted or cycled to school.

Whitehouse Loan Road. Photo: © 2021, Martin P. McAdam

Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Public Health and Sport said: “I’m a keen runner and walker and even if I can only fit in a quick ten minutes around the block in the morning it has such a positive impact on my day. It’s been great to see the increase in walking running, cycling and scooting and we should build on these positive habits so that they become a routine part of the day. Not only do these activities have many benefits for our physical and mental health, they can also improve our environment.”

Lee Craigie, Scotland’s Active Nation Commissioner said: “It’s time for a cultural shift in how we undertake our everyday short journeys, in particular the school run. Instead of this daily journey continuing to be a stressful chore that clogs our streets and lungs with vehicles and their emissions, we must all play our part in creating the sort of environments where children (and their parents and teachers) can start their day with fresh air and exercise. When walking, cycling, scooting and wheeling to school becomes the norm for everyone, we embed healthy, sustainable, fair travelling behaviours in our communities.” 

Families are reminded about social distancing rules and wearing face coverings at the school gates. To create more space for safe interactions and social distancing, The City of Edinburgh Council has implemented Spaces for People safety measures around many schools in the city.

Dafer Routes to School. Photo: © 2021, Martin P. McAdam