On 12 June 2013 tens of thousands of children from hundreds of primary schools across the UK marched for safer roads, to encourage drivers to GO 20 around schools, homes and shops to protect children and other cyclists and pedestrians. The event also promoted the benefits of walking and cycling, and raised awareness of the fact that every school day 23 children are knocked down and hurt walking or cycling to or from school.
A big thank you to all the schools that took part, helping to teach pupils about road danger and the benefits of sustainable, active travel, promoting road safety to parents and drivers in the wider community, and raising valuable funds for Brake.
See below for examples of what schools did on the day and feedback, and see more pictures on our facebook page.
The Giant Walking Bus is at the heart of Brake’s campaign for slower speeds in communities to enable children and adults to walk and cycle without fear or threat. Brake used the event to get the message out through the media to drivers to slow down to 20mph around homes, schools and shops. Brake also appealed to local authorities across the UK to implement more 20mph limits and other measures to protect people, like safe pavements, paths and crossings. Find out more about our GO 20 campaign.
Read about our star schools from 2013
Whittle-le-Woods Primary School in Chorley took part in the Giant Walking Bus for the third time, and had another memorable day. The children made posters, banners and signs to take with them on their march, conducted a traffic survey and also tested their road safety knowledge and practised taking safe routes to school using homemade road signs and marked-out roads in their playground. The school has campaigned for a 20mph limit outside their school which is now in place but were keen to get the message out to drivers to stick to it. Their march was attended by the mayor of Chorley, who led the countdown to the march, and the local councillor, police officers and parents. Children taking part also kindly fundraised for Brake. The event generated a great deal of media interest, with regional tv and radio and two newspapers in attendance, speaking to teachers, parents and staff about why the march was so important.
Teaching assistant Jennifer Hall said: ‘We had a fantastic day and were supported by local police officers, the local councillor and the mayor of Chorley. All staff supported the event and we had some parents walking with us too – even the reporter from the radio station joined the bus with us! Through previous road safety events we now have a 20mph limit outside our school so what we need now is for all to abide by it and this was a great way to get that message across.’
Dormers Wells Junior School in Southall, London, ran lots of activities alongside their march. They held an assembly, used PowerPoint presentations and YouTube videos to aid road safety discussions and also made placards and posters bearing road safety slogans and messages. The children were dressed in bright colours on the walk and held banners and chanted slogans including 'Slow down - kill your speed!', 'Kids say slow down' and 'What do we want? Safe roads!' The children also fundraised to support Brake's work as part of their event.
Hafren Junior School in Newtown, Powys, teamed up with nearby Abermule Primary School and extended their Giant Walking Bus to a distance of five miles, linking the event to their Healthy Schools activities and promoting the benefits of walking to the children. The children also raised more than £220 for Brake. In addition to encouraging local drivers to slow down in their community via the Giant Walking Bus, the school has also been actively involved in other road safety initiatives. Following an observational study of local traffic, conducted by pupils from nine local schools, Mid and West Wales Fire and Resue Service, Powsy Road Safety and Powys Police joined the schools in launching a campaign promoting road safety for children. A junior road safety forum was set up with pupils from all nine schools helping to think of ways to tackle local issues such as parents not using appropriate child restraints and local resdients driving too fast within the community, and they were joined by Brake's mascot Zak the Zebra to help them raise road safety awareness locally.
St Joseph's RCVA Primary School and Victoria Lane Academy in Coundon, Bishop Auckland, teamed up to hold an extra large Giant Walking Bus event this year and get the message out to local drivers to take care and slow down around the local community. The children made their own posters and banners in advance of the big day, and took whistles and drums with them to give their march extra impact. They were also joined on the day by local PCSOs who helped to teach the children about being safe when out and about near roads and walked with the children on their march. The march also attracted the attention of the regional tv news and a local radio station, which both sent reporters and cameras along.
Mel Hutchinson, learning mentor at St Joseph's RCVA Primary school, said: 'The kids really loved it and the Giant Walking Bus has definitely become an annual event for us now.'
St Michael's Primary School in Figheldean in Wiltshire used the Giant Walking Bus as a focal point for their campaign to introduce 20mph limits throughout the village, to make it safer for children to walk and cycle to and from school. The school council planned activities for the day and before the march each class had lessons themed on road safety to explain the significance of cars slowing down near schools and how to keep safe when walking and cycling. Pupils also designed posters highlighting why 20mph limits are important and these were affixed to the perimeter fencing around the school to spread the message to the local community. Earlier in the year, the school ran a Bright Day for Brake to emphasise the need for drivers to slow down around schools and look out for cyclists and pedestrians, and children fundraised for Brake during both events.
All pupils from Bedford Drive Primary School in Birkenhead took part in this year's Giant Walking Bus event. Children from every class made banners and placards in advance of the big day to take with them on their march. Children from each year group marched together and came up with their own road safety-themed chants, including 'Twenty's plenty, forty's naughty' and 'Slow down, keep us safe'. The school also held a celebration assembly to share photos and videos from the day, congratulate the children on taking part and reinforce important road safety messages.
Teacher Mrs Elizabeth Finnigan said, 'All staff and children really enjoyed it. Local police officers commented on the great work of the children as they walked past, and cars beeped in support. A wonderful day!'
Market Drayton Primary School in Shropshire once again took part in the Giant Walking Bus and organised another very successful event. Their march took them through the centre of Market Drayton and helped them to spread the important 'slow down' message to local residents. The children, dressed in hi-viz vests, designed 20mph banners and posters to take with them and were joined on the day by the deputy mayor and the local PCSO. Ahead of the march they were also visited by their local road safety officer who helped to run road safety lessons for the 180 children taking part in the march. Pupils also raised an amazing sum of £1,131 for Brake.
Rushy Meadow Primary School in Carshalton, Surrey, take part in the Giant Walking Bus each year. This year, the children made posters and banners to take with them on their march and children and teachers were interviewed by a local radio station about why it is important to get the message out to drivers to slow down around schools. Once again, children were sponsored to take part in the march and managed to raise nearly £1,500 to support Brake's work.
St Mark's Primary School in Barrhead, Glasgow, combined their Giant Walking Bus event with their annual health week and sports day. Junior Road Safety Officers planned and led a road safety assembly, parents came along to support and supervise the march and brought younger children along to join in. The head teacher also donned his hi-viz jacket to lead the march, using a megaphone to encourage children to chant 'slow down!' as they marched and also took a collection bucket with him to encourage donations from local residents and raised £236 for Brake. The school plans to make the Giant Walking Bus a fixture in their school calendar.
Mill O'Forest Primary School in Aberdeen takes part in the Giant Walking Bus each year, and their event was covered by the local radio station for the first time. They went to great lengths to make it a big community event, by marching through the city and meeting up with pupils from two other schools to run a road safety quiz hosted by the local radio station. They made posters, banners and road signs to carry with them and were joined on the day by teachers, parents, local councillors, police officers and traffic wardens.
YESsmethwick - a partnership between Shireland Collegiate Academy and a group of primary schools in Smethwick in the West Midlands - co-ordinated a Giant Walking Bus event involving seven local schools. The student council, made up of two students from each school, organised the march and associated activities themselves. Children designed banners and placards to take with them on their march, focusing on a range of key road safety themes including 'GO 20'. They were joined by local police, road safety officers from Sandwell Council, representatives from ASDA supermarket, while parents and teachers helped to supervise the children. The giant march took the children on an extended 4-mile route through Smethwick town centre to ensure that the 'GO 20' message was spread to drivers right across the town.
Nearly 450 children from Long Meadow Primary School in Milton Keynes marched for safer roads in their community. They all took part in road safety lessons and assemblies ahead of the march, including having discussions about why it was so important and watching a road safety dvd and adverts. The school also received support from local PCSOs, who attended and helped supervise on the day. The children also managed to raise more than £500 for Brake as part of their event.
170 children from Marshside Primary School in Southport made banners to carry with them on their march for safer roads, and received a visit from the local road safety team to help teach them road safety lessons and explain the importance of drivers slowing down around the school. The school has taken part for three years and the Giant Walking Bus has become an annual event and has provided a focus for a local campaign to introduce 20mph limits. The School Travel Action Group has been actively involved in campaigning for lower limits alongside local councillors and were pleased to see 20mph zones extended in Southport with help from their efforts.
180 children from St Mary's Primary School in Largs, North Ayrshire dressed in hi-viz vests and designed banners and posters for their march in support of safer roads as part of their Giant Walking Bus event. They were joined by parents and teachers on their march around the town and local police were also on hand to provide support and supervision on the day. The children also managed to raise over £600 to support Brake's work.
Carr Green School Council in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, used the Giant Walking Bus as a focal point for spreading road safety messages to parents and local residents. Parking or driving on the pavements outside the school has been a serious issue, so the school council issued their own tickets on badly parked cars to remind local drivers to take care around the school. Alongside their march and road safety lessons for the children, the school also launched a new 'Walk on Wednesday' campaign to encourage parents to leave their cars at home and walk with children to school or park away from the school gates to help alleviate the parking and safety issues.
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Wandsworth, London, involved everyone, including nursery and reception children, in road safety activities as part of their Giant Walking Bus event. The school council took charge of planning activities in the lead-up to the event and on the day itself, including how to promote safety messages throughout the school and across the local community. The children designed 'slow down' banners for their march, while younger children took part in road safety lessons using ride-on toys, play roads and road signs, emphasising the importance of holding hands with an adult when near roads. Parents and other volunteers also joined in activities on the day.
Little Plumstead Primary School in Norwich were one of last year's standout schools. In 2013 the school held an informative road safety assembly, teaching children how to stay safe when out and about and highlighting why it is important for drivers to slow down around the school. All pupils then marched in a crocodile formation, with children holding hands and chanting. The children made posters to wave during the march and local police officers came along to show their support. Each child was sponsored to take part and raised a fantastic sum of £1,391 for Brake.
Nicky Lingley, teaching assistant, said “We thoroughly enjoyed taking part in Brake's Giant Walking Bus again. The march gave our children a voice, helping them tell drivers to slow down and look out for people on foot. We were very pleased with how the event went and have been overwhelmed by the amount of money that the children have raised given the size of our school.”
Braywood CE Primary School in Windsor took vuvuzelas and whistles with them on their march to help them get their road safety message across to local drivers, and the children also designed their own posters and wore high-viz vests as they marched. The school encouraged parents to get involved, with many of them coming along to help support and supervise activities on the day, and helped to create a community charter around staying safe near roads. The children also raised £148 for Brake.
West Ham Church School in London organised a range of road safety activities alongside their walking bus, to help teach the children important road safety lessons and also to encourage parents to take on board the key messages from the march. Junior Road Safety Officers organised a Green Cross Code quiz for pupils, and the local lollipop lady and police force supported the event by coming to the school to help teach lessons. The school also held a special road safety-themed coffee morning for parents to explain the reasons behind the march and to raise awareness about both road safety and Brake's important work supporting bereaved families and campaigning for safer roads. Early Years Foundation Stage children also took part in their own 'big toddle' for road safety the following week, and pupils across all years contributed to raising a total of nearly £300 for Brake.
Central Park Primary School in East London ran a host of road safety activities for their Giant Walking Bus. Class assemblies and PHSCE lessons were road-safety themed, with the children watching videos and being encouraged to think about the roads close to the school and what can be done to make it safer for everyone. Throughout the year the school council and teachers have been monitoring parking outside the school each day and are working with the council to try and address parking problems. The children also managed to raise more than £500 to support Brake's work.
Claire Rozzier, teacher and sustainability lead, said: The day went really well. We have taken part for quite a number of years now and the children are able to understand and talk about why we are doing it and the importance of road safety and relate it to everyday life. The children especially enjoyed wearing the stickers and holding banners, which was something we have not done before.'
Alveston C of E Primary School in Stratford upon Avon ran a range of activities in the build-up to their march for safer roads, aimed at teaching the children road safety lessons and getting the message out to parents and other local drivers to take care and reduce their speed around the community. Teachers and pupils came up with plenty of ways to help raise awareness, including designing banners and posters, coming up with road safety songs and even raps, having discussions about the importance of safety during lessons and assembliesand issued letters about the event to parents to explain the importance of the march. The children also raised nearly £120 for Brake.
Manor Beach Primary School in Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, took part in the Giant Walking Bus for the first time in 2013. Nearly 300 children, plus teachers and other volunteers, donned their hi-viz vests and joined the march for safer roads. Local PCSOs also came along to deliver a road safety assembly and accompany the children on their march, and each class had additional road safety lessons and made banners to take along with them. The school also used the event to teach the children about healthy lifestyles and eco-friendly transport and to launch their own walking bus scheme to be introduced in September. The children also managed to raise £332 for Brake.
Rokesly Infant School in Hornsey, London, were joined for their march by Mr Crocodile, the local council's Walking Mascot. The local Safer Neighbourhood team also joined the walk, as did many parents. Before the big day, the students worked with a local professional musician to compose a song about road safety and sustainable travel, to be used as part of their road safety lessons and activities on the day. The children also raised more than £800 for Brake.
Acting headteacher Karren Hughes said, 'The walk was very successful with a good turnout of parents to support and supervise the children. Mr Crocodile really added an extra element of fun to the day. The Giant Walking Bus is a good way for us to raise awareness of road safety and remind drivers in the area about safety issues around our school.'
A special thank you too, to the following schools that managed to raise more than £500 for Brake as part of their Giant Walking Bus event:
Thornaby Village Primary School in Stockton-on-Tees
Netherton Church of England Primary School in Dudley
Lionel Primary School in Hounslow, London
St Monica's Catholic Primary School in Milton Keynes
Ilsham Academy in Torquay