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How to Stop.Swap.GO! to school or college

Here’s a whole bunch of information and advice on how to get you and your children walking, scooting, cycling or using the bus during the school or college run.

Ditching the car will help your children get some fresh air, grow their confidence and help them learn how to plan trips. Plus, it’ll help you keep clear of traffic jams and delays.

  • Stop making car trips to the school or college gates

  • Swap them to cycling, walking or scooting, at least part of the way

  • GO! and get them to school or college on time with less annoying traffic

However, if your child is feeling anxious about school or college due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there is help available. Essex County Council provides staying well advice and guidance including support from local organisations. This can help children, young people and parents with any difficulties and anxieties they might be experiencing.

Stop – rethink getting to school or college

Social distancing measures mean that getting to school or college by bus or car is probably going to be more difficult than usual.

Buses have less space as they’ve been told to maintain social distancing, so they’ll be picking fewer passengers up. The bus companies don’t have lots of spare buses they can run. This means your child could be waiting longer and could end up late for school or college. We don’t want that!

Driving them to school or college might not be a good option either. Now that fewer children will be able to take the bus, it’s likely that more parents will decide to drive their children to school or college. That’ll mean busier roads right around our schools or colleges and a lot more time in traffic.

So, there’s never been a better time to swap the car to walking, cycling or scooting. It will help your child stay active, help the environment, and give you all time back in your day. With new cycle paths, pedestrianised zones and reduced speed limits across towns in Essex, it’s definitely the way to GO!

Swap – to cycling, walking or scooting

It really is super easy to get out of the car and onto better ways of getting to school or college. Here’s some advice for overcoming those first hurdles to swapping.

‘We live too far to walk, cycle, or scoot’

That’s okay! Your best bet would be to drive to one of the drop-off points that you can find on our maps. We've created custom maps to show suggested drop-off and pick-up points for secondary schools and colleges in Essex. We’ve tried and tested them and they’re the best bet to help you avoid the traffic and get your children to school or college on time.

‘My children always get the bus’

The latest government guidance on school transport says that bus operators need to limit the number of people on board, to maintain social distancing, and most over the age of 11 will need to wear masks. We all know how packed the buses can get during a school or college run. If you live close enough to the school or college then a swap to cycling or walking as it is your best bet. This avoids waiting a long time to get a space on the bus. The same goes coming home from school or college. Check with local bus operators for more information.

‘I just drive my children to school or college’

There’s no better way to save money and get your children healthier on the school or college run than scooting, cycling or walking to school. One upside of the current crisis is that roads have been quieter, and we’ve had more time to try new ways of getting about. Check out our InstagramFacebook, and Twitter to see how people have been getting around Essex. Give your child the chance to breathe cleaner air, learn how to get around without you, and spend time with their friends. All whilst you avoid the traffic which could make them late.

‘It isn’t safe for my child to walk, cycle or scoot’

There are plenty of things you can do to make your child safer on the roads. Safer Essex Roads Partnership offers road and bike safety lessons to give your child the skills they need to handle their trip to school or college. They’re great for getting children used to the roads in a safe way. We also regularly post our top tips for staying safe on the move on our social media channels (InstagramFacebook, and Twitter).

GO! – get ready to walk, cycle or scoot. Read our 4 tips to get you moving!

1. Plan your route

Use our maps that are specific to your route, or think about how to get from your front door to school or college. Google Maps is another great place to start. You’re looking for things like quiet roads, good crossing points, and well-lit areas.

2. Try out your route

Experiment with routes whilst it isn’t busy – or use Google Street View. You should look out for things like where road crossings are, street lighting and where the entrances to your school or college are. This’ll help you make sure your plan works or you can change it if you need. You can also work out that your child will get to school or college on time. If you’re planning to drive to a drop-off point, it’d be good to drive there to see how easy it is to pull in and get the bike or scooter out of the car.

3. Get your kit together

If you and/or your child will be cycling, take your bikes to a local bike shop to make sure they’re in working order and check what facilities are available at their school or college. Other kit you might need could include a good bike lock, front and rear lights, a helmet, and a bell. All these will keep your child and their bike safe. Don’t forget a waterproof and a drink to keep them dry and hydrated. If you’re walking in, that’s a little easier. A nice comfy pair of shoes and a rucksack, along with the waterproof and drink again.

4. Get ready to GO! the night before

Pack bags, set alarms, go back over the route, pump them tyres, see if they’re meeting up with people (socially distanced of course!) en route. Doing everything to make day one the easiest it can be means you’re more likely to keep the swap going and make a difference to climate change and your child’s wellbeing.