Schools battle it out in walking challenge

Thursday, 25th February 2016

TWO Tamworth schools are battling it out until the end of March to see which can be the most active.

More than 700 students from Flax Hill Junior Academy and Coton Green Primary School will be taking part in the walking challenge, which is being organised by Tamworth Borough Council and funded through the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

The challenge aims to encourage the pupils to increase their walking and other physical activity – and is pitting the two schools against each other in an attempt to add a fun element of competition.

The schools challenge follows on from the hugely successful workplace walking challenge in 2014, which saw businesses from across Tamworth competing to log the most steps taken each day.

The challenge between Flax Hill and Coton Green started on February 22 and runs until March 20, with children logging all their walking and physical activity during that period.

Cllr Stephen Doyle, Cabinet member for Communities & Public Health, said:

“The schools challenge is a fun way of getting the young people more active and hopefully encouraging parents to walk their children to school if they can and leave their car behind for short journeys.

“Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active. To stay healthy or to improve health, children and young people need to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.”

Flax Hill Junior Academy Head of School, Sue Boden, said:

“Flax Hill considers all forms of exercise to be of paramount importance to both the physical and mental well being of our pupils.

“Through the participation in sporting activities, we develop many skills which are essential to the development of learning and can be applied to other subjects in school. Perseverance, teamwork, tactics, training towards a goal, learning how it feels to win and accepting that losing is just a part of competition which enables us to become more determined – these are all key skills which we hope will be developed within sport.

“With this in mind, we are very excited to be taking part in the Tamworth walking challenge. Every child will play a vital role in achieving our grand total of steps and hopefully will see how easy it is to participate in a simple, regular exercise on a daily basis without a huge amount of extra effort, while keeping fit along the way.”

Coton Green Primary School Head, Richard Osborne, said:

“We are delighted to take part in the challenge. Making a lifestyle change, with regard to walking, is something we are very keen to promote. Our children have been excited to receive their pedometers and have begun the walking challenge with enthusiasm.

“What is important is that walking becomes an expectation and a habit, so that in the long term the health of our children improves and problems associated with traffic congestion in the local area are cut.”

The Local Sustainable Transport Fund is a government scheme that helps councils to create changes to local transport and encourage more people to choose sustainable travel methods, with the intention of cutting carbon emissions, creating growth and improving health.

Throughout the UK, £1 billion is now being invested in local sustainable travel and Staffordshire County Council has been given funding for various projects throughout Staffordshire.