A Park & Stride scheme is ideal for families living too far away from school to be able to walk. It is a simple solution and means that children at least walk some of the way to and from school. It is also good for parents who have to drive on to work. Even the most regular walkers sometimes may need to take the car, especially after school if they are going on to somewhere different.
How Does it Work?
- Parents are encouraged to park a good distance away from the school and walk the last five or ten minutes.
- They may park in a pub or supermarket car park with the agreement of the owners or just in a quiet side street.
- Cars are no longer concentrated in one mass outside the school gates, making it safer for all.
Why is it a Good Idea?
- Children living far from school have the benefits of walking some of the way.
- It is simple to set up.
- It can work well both before and after school (unlike Walking Buses which tend to work best going to school).
- Anyone can take part and there is no commitment or sign-up needed.
- It is a good way for local businesses to help their local school. It can benefit the business; a supermarket offering 'park & striders' use of its car park may find more parents stopping off to do a bit of shopping too!
What are the Challenges?
- If your Park & Stride area is too close to school it may give existing walkers an excuse to not walk so far. Make sure the park zone is at least 5 minutes (preferably 10 minutes) walk away from your school.
- Make sure those pupils who walk all the way from home are given recognition too. Park & Stride should be just one element of your school travel plan.
- If the parking area is on private land, eg a business, you will need the owners' permission. Living Streets provide a letter template for this and other excellent information for Park & Stride schemes on their website.
Setting Up and Promoting Your Park & Stride Scheme
- Identify the routes people use and any suitable Park & Stride parking areas. This can be done with a working party and may be integrated into a geography lesson. Draw up a map to display the locations.
- Start with a 'role play' assembly (with the help of your Junior Road Safety Officers if you have them) to help pupils realise the importance of keeping cars away from the school gates, and how parents can park away to make it safer.
- Follow up with a letter to parents expaining the scheme. Offer car window stickers to parents who want to help promote the scheme.
- Get the children enthusiastic about it so they encourage their parents to take part. Here are some ideas:
- Hold a competition for all children: to write a slogan, design a poster or compose a poem or rap about the scheme.
- Use class charts to record the number of children who Park & Stride (make sure those who walk all the way to school also get points).
- Award stickers to those who get involved and badges to those who take part regularly.
- In literacy classes show pupils how to compose a press release about the scheme and then submit a selection to your local press. If published you could inspire other schools in your area.
- If you school is taking part in the STARS scheme, introducing the scheme can help your award assessment.
- Promote the scheme's launch on your school website and social media.
- Make sure the scheme is well-promoted to parents of new pupils in future - include it in your prospectus and at induction evenings.
Check out our range of Park & Stride products: Park & Stride Starter Pack, Self-Cling Window Stickers and Reflective Badges.