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Pupils celebrate Walk to School Week at Scottish Parliament

Pupils from Edinburgh and Scottish Borders schools joined MSPs outside Scottish Parliament to celebrate Walk to School Week this week (17 May 2023).

Walk to School Week is organised by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking as part of their National Walking Month campaign each May.

Families are encouraged to walk, wheel, cycle, scoot or ‘Park and Stride’ for the whole week to see the big differences that come from small steps, from healthier and happier children to fewer cars outside the school gates.

Over 250 schools in Scotland have signed up to receive special Walk to School Week packs from Living Streets, joining 356,000 pupils across the UK to learn about the important reasons to walk to school and the difference it can make to individuals, communities and the planet.

The charity is working with over 170 additional Scottish schools this academic year to deliver WOW – the walk to school challenge.

WOW is a pupil-led initiative where children self-report how they get to school every day using the interactive WOW Travel Tracker. Pupils who travel actively at least once a week for a month are rewarded with a WOW badge.

WOW schools see on average a 5-10% increase in pupils walking to school in Scotland with a corresponding drop in car use, helping to reduce congestion and increase safety outside the school gates.  

Stuart Hay, Director, Living Streets Scotland said:

“Walk to School Week is an excellent opportunity for families to give walking to school a go. Walking our short journeys helps us stay healthy, while reducing traffic, pollution and road danger on our local streets.

“We’re delighted that so many of our schools were able to join us to celebrate the great strides Scottish pupils are making to get more active and tackle the climate emergency.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Active Travel said:

“I’m pleased to support Walk to School Week. Walking to school is a simple step that many young people and their parents and carers can make for a healthier and happier start to the day – with each step improving health and taking climate action.

“More people walking or wheeling means fewer cars, less congestion and safer environments for everyone to enjoy – both outside the school gates and beyond. I hope many people who try making the change during Walk to School Week will find that it’s a change they want to stick with, every week of the year.

“I’m grateful to the pupils from various local schools that took the time to walk to the Scottish Parliament, helping encourage even more people to choose active and sustainable travel.”

Christine Grahame MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale said:

“It’s great to see Living Streets actively encouraging our primary school pupils to walk more and reduce congestion at the school gates and in built-up areas, especially during Walk to School Week!

“Walking is so important for young bodies and minds; the WOW Challenge is a great incentive to get pupils and their parents walking and actively travelling”.

Foysol Choudhury MSP for Lothian Region said:

“I am pleased to be supporting Walk to School Week once again this year. It is a great initiative that encourages families to change their school run habits and choose to walk to school instead. It is a healthy option that allows children and their parents or guardians to be more active, reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and road safety. I hope this week will raise awareness of the importance of walking to school and various benefits to the community and environment and, will in turn motivate families to make walking to school a daily habit”.

Rachael Hamilton MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire said:

“It was great to join Living Streets outside the Scottish Parliament alongside pupils from Burnfoot Primary School. Living Streets is doing fantastic work in encouraging young people to walk to school and it is important we keep our children active and reduce congestion in built-up areas.”


Scottish Borders schools: Burnfoot Primary School, Chirnside Primary School, Heriot Primary School, Langlee Primary School, Stow Primary School, Tweedbank Primary School.

Edinburgh schools: Abbeyhill Primary School, Broughton Primary School, Bruntsfield Primary School, Cramond Primary School, Parsons Green Primary School

All images Ivon Bartholomew

About the author

Kathryn Shaw

Head of Communications and Marketing, Living Streets /