Let's turn the school run into the school walk

Published: Tuesday, 16th October 2018

October is International Walk to School Month, and as new Government data shows that nationally 44 per cent of pupils walk to school in 2017, down on the 46 per cent recorded in 2016, Oxford City Council is calling on more parents to ditch the car and walk their children to school.

While the new figures, published as part of the Government’s annual walking and cycling statistics, don’t provide a breakdown for Oxford, data from the 2011 Census suggests that we are ahead of many other areas of the country, with 61 per cent of pupils walking to school.

Table showing Census 2011 data comparing percentage of people walking to school nationally and in Oxford

Age of pupils


(2017 – source Department of Transport)


(2011 – source UK Census)

All pupils (5-16)



Primary (5-10)



Secondary (11-16)



However, the position across Oxford was mixed, varying from 92 per cent of pupils walking to Orchard Meadow Primary School in Blackbird Leys, to just 13 per cent walking to St Aloysius Catholic Primary School in Walton Manor. Oxford Academy led the way for walking among secondary schools with 64 per cent of pupils arriving on foot.

Of course, many children choose to cycle to school in Oxford, with Cherwell well out in front with 57 per cent of pupils arriving by bike and Phil & Jim’s (27 per cent) and St Aloysius (25 per cent) setting the pace among primaries.

Councillor Louise Upton, Executive Board Member for Healthy Oxford and City Council Cycling Champion, said: “The more families that can be persuaded to ditch the car and turn the school run into a school walk, the better for everyone – themselves included. Walking to school is not only good for your health, but better for the environment. It’s also a social activity as you can chat to people you meet on the way, and it’s free! Walking to school is often quicker too, given the congestion in the city. Furthermore, by not driving, you will be making it safer for everyone else who is walking or cycling to school in the city. Of course I recognise that walking – or indeed cycling – to school is not practical for everyone; but in this International Month of Walking to School, I’d urge everyone who can to give it a try.”

More on the International Walk to School Month website