The journey to secondary school

With the summer holidays almost over, it’s time for Year 6 children to say goodbye to primary school and get ready for a fresh start. Starting secondary school is an exciting time, full of new challenges. For many children, it’s the first time they will need to get to school independently.

Research indicates that how children get to school has a big impact on their mood, academic performance and physical wellbeing. Walking or cycling improves sleep, reduces stress and helps aid concentration, so your child arrives at school ready to learn.

To ease the transition and make sure your child knows how to get to their new school safely, it’s important to plan ahead. How will your child get to school? Whether they’ll be walking, cycling and getting the bus, here are our top tips for safe travel.

Walking

Walking to school is a brilliant way for your child to stay active and develop independence. It also reduces congestion and air pollution around the school gates.

Plan a safe route with your child, using Google maps to explore the streets between your home and the school. Identify safe places to cross the road and practice the journey together before the school year starts. Make sure they have bright, reflective clothing for the darker months and a raincoat so they’re prepared for any weather!

Cycling

Cycling is a fast, easy and active mode of transport. With all the new cycle lanes in Leeds, it’s easier than ever for your child to cycle to school safely. If your child doesn’t feel confident cycling, maybe they’d benefit from Bikeability training?

Plan a route that uses quieter and less polluted roads, even if it takes a little bit longer, so that the journey is enjoyable. The West Yorkshire Interactive Cycling Map is a great tool for this.

Teach your child how to fix their bike, including how to make sure the brakes, tyres and bell are working correctly. Encourage your child to follow this checklist: Helmet ✔️ Tyres ✔️ Brakes ✔️ Lock ✔️ Lights ✔️

Getting the bus

If school is too far away for your child to walk or cycle, public transport is a good option. Make sure your child knows the right bus stops to use, and the number of the bus that will take them to their school. Discuss what they should do if the bus is late, and make sure they’re prepared for any issues. Remember they’ll need to plan a safe walking route to the bus stop too!

However they’re getting to school, encourage your child to create an active travel plan and practice the journey over the summer holidays so they’re ready to start secondary school with confidence.

Download the child-friendly ‘Good to Go’ guide below, to help you plan the journey to secondary school together.

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