A total of 35 schools took part in the fifth Harrogate District Walk to School Day which is sponsored by Your Harrogate, backed by Harrogate Borough Council and the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition and supported by Harrogate Town AFC.
That means 57 different schools have taken part in the event over this academic year so far.
Harrogate District Walk to School Day: Which schools did best
Willow Tree Community Primary School’s Walk to School Day efforts paid off as they were the district’s Zero Hero primary school winners this time with 91% of pupils taking part. Runners-up were Birstwith Church of England Primary School with 85% and Oatlands Community Junior School with 84%.
Harrogate Grammar School took the eco top spot for secondary schools with 89% participation.
They were followed by Harrogate High School at 78%. Find the full results table here: https://www.zerocarbonharrogate.org.uk/school-leaderboard
Willow Tree Community Primary was also the most improved school for participation, seeing an impressive 21% increase in uptake. Aspin Park Academy’s participation also increased by an admirable 12%.
Sarah Bissett, Event Coordinator for Zero Carbon Harrogate said: “It is fantastic that 57 schools have taken part in the event over this academic year. Congratulations to every school who joined in and helped reduce carbon emissions!”
Zero Carbon Harrogate’s Chair, Jemima Parker reflected on the event: “It’s so encouraging to see our children and young people leading the way in making the little changes that make a big difference to our district’s carbon emissions.
"We know that a zero carbon future means cutting our car journeys by about half and using shared transport and active travel whenever we can.
"These families on the school run are showing us how it can be done.”
The Harrogate District Walk to School Day saw the town's pupils walking cycling, scooting, car-sharing or taking public transport to the school gate, on a mission to reduce our local community’s climate impact from transport emissions.
The half-termly Walk to School Day events, sponsored by Your Harrogate and backed by Harrogate Borough Council and the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition are the first of their kind held exclusively for the Harrogate District.
Harrogate District Walk to School Day: What Harrogate Town said
Tom Blackburn, Community Officer at Harrogate Town AFC CIO explained the reasoning behind the club’s support of Walk to School Day: “One of Harrogate Town’s and its Community Foundation’s main objectives is to improve health and wellbeing, so it’s very important to see so many pupils, parents and staff get on board with the Walk to School initiative created by Zero Carbon Harrogate. We’re really excited to be collaborating with them and the Harrogate Climate Change Coalition.
"The Walk to School Day marks one of the first events in our environmental sustainability plan that will see a number of activities and events delivered in the community that aims to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.”
Harrogate District Walk to School Day: What organisers said
Sarah Bissett, Event Coordinator for Zero Carbon Harrogate, the volunteer-led charity that organises the initiative said: “We are delighted to have the support of Harrogate Town Football Club, Mayor and Mayoress Chapman and every pupil, family and school that took part in our fifth Walk to School Day event.
"Enthusiasm levels are always elevated on event day, but Harry’s appearance at Willow Tree Community Primary School and the glorious weather raised the spirits of our district’s amazing Zero Heroes even higher.
"The football club’s involvement has drawn attention to the benefits of reducing car usage for both the environment and our own wellbeing.
"As we continue through the year, the campaign’s goal is to build such healthy habits, so they transcend beyond the schedule of event days.”
Harrogate District Walk to School Day: What Harrogate Mayor said
Mayor for the Harrogate District, Coun Trevor Chapman said: “Myself and the Mayoress were delighted to support the Walk to School event at Willow Tree School.
"We thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and were delighted to see so many children taking part. It is so important that we encourage the children to walk to school, rather than travel by car, for the good of the environment and the health benefits that it brings.”
Harrogate District Walk to School Day: What teachers and pupils said
Children who participated in the event say they understood why Walk to School Day was important.
For example, Evie from Willow Tree Community Primary School, said: “I like Walking to School Day because it will save our planet”.
Charlie from Willow Tree Community Primary School reflected: “Walk to School Day is so important because it means that cars are not ruining our air and walking keeps us fit and healthy.”
Charlene Manning, KS1 Teacher and Event Organiser at Willow Tree Community Primary School said: “As a school we are always committed to finding new ways of lowering our carbon footprint. We are incredibly proud to have such a supportive community of children, parents and staff who take extra steps to walk to school.
"It was fabulous seeing our car park empty today and the convoy of children and adults walking to school. We are privileged to have been able to collaborate with Harrogate Town Football Club and Zero Carbon Harrogate to create such an exciting event.
"An extra special thank you must go to the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate who took their time to support such a fantastic cause; the children most certainly loved meeting them.
"We also hope to have raised awareness and encouraged many of those stuck in traffic on Wetherby Road to park and stride. We hope the children of Willow Tree Primary School will always remember the excitement of walking to school and the benefits for the planet.
"The buzz within school from walking with 'Harry the Gator' was phenomenal and brought such joy to all”.
Participating schools were also invited to share their car-free success stories with the aim of motivating and inspiring others on the collective journey towards creating a greener Harrogate District.
For example, the school council at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Knaresborough, made eye-catching and engaging posters to promote the event to fellow pupils.
Mr Horne, Year 3 Class Teacher and School Council Lead told us: "The children in School Council have been really enthusiastic about raising awareness for this month's Walk to School Day.
"They have worked really hard on creating fantastic and creative posters and the amount of children who were walking through our school gates this morning with a smile on their face was fantastic to see".
Harrogate District Walk to School Day: What's next
Walk to School Day will return on Friday, May 13, 2022, continuing its mission of reducing the district’s carbon emissions, tackling traffic congestion, and boosting physical and mental health.
Residents are additionally encouraged to avoid car journeys on a weekly basis by signing up to the Car Free Fridays initiative at: