A Scottish primary school has found major positive impacts from the simple strategy of implementing a “walking bus” last year.

There are schemes like this set up in schools across the country. The schemes were initially implemented to promote road safety, health and exercise.

However, Inzievar Primary in Oakley, were experiencing high levels of absence and tried the idea to see if it may help the situation. Since the introduction the school has seen a dramatic cut in the number of children who arrive late or stay off school.

The “Walking Buses” are led by teachers, support staff or parents who have volunteered. The idea originated in Australia and the first scheme in Britain is thought to have been in St Albans nearly 20 years ago.

The benefits of the initiative have been wide spread, from the teachers at the school being able to start their lessons knowing that they are less likely to be disrupted from late pupils, to the Lollipop lady being able to transport streams of children safely across the road rather than in ones and twos.

Head Teacher at Inzievar, Jane Gray, said that the scheme had benefited students, parents, teachers and the schools relationship with the local community. In terms of attendance and punctuality, she said

 “The data tells us we have gone from an average of 25 children arriving late in a day to 10, sometimes less than that”.

In addition Mrs Gray makes the point that the scheme cost little to set up and virtually nothing to run. Costs will be incurred from high visibility vests for safety and producing maps and timetables. The responsible adults will need to be available to lead the bus and chaperone the children.

Source: BBC News

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