What are they?
A Walking Bus encourages children to walk to and from school
safety, joining or leaving at designated 'bus stops', with the help
of adult volunteers. It can enable parents to leave their car
at home which will ease congestion around the school and give
health and exercise benefits to those involved.
Walking Buses are organised and supported by
the school; its pupils, parents, teachers and
governors. Volunteers can be trained by Worcestershire County
Council officers who can also Risk Assess the route(s).
Reasons for Setting-up a Walking Bus
- It is a safe, fun and healthy way to travel to and from
- Even those who live too far away to walk to school can be
driven to one of the designated 'Bus Stops' where the Bus can be
- It provides the opportunity to take part in regular exercise –
evidence has shown that more active children are likely to become
more active adults. In fact, a fifteen minute walk can
contribute to a quarter of the daily recommended exercise for
- Every extra journey made on foot reduces air pollution and
reduces the potential for conflict between pedestrians and
- Children who walk on a Walking Bus are more visible as they are
part of a larger group, wear high visibility jackets and are
escorted by adults. These factors should reassure parents who feel
concerned about letting their children walk on their own.
- A Walking Bus can help children to learn pedestrian skills so
that when they start to walk on their own, they are better
prepared. They may be more likely to walk once starting secondary
- Walking to school gives children the chance to talk to friends
en route. Evidence also suggests that they arrive at school
more alert and ready to learn.
How it Works
- Find out if parents are interested: a letter could be
sent home or they could be approached in the playground or school
function (see Link to template letter below).
- Once interested parents are identified, a Co-ordinator of the
scheme needs to be appointed.
- A Walking Bus route is devised according to where the
'passengers' and volunteer 'drivers' live. Children can join
the Bus at an agreed meeting point (or 'bus stop') from where the
bus will leave at an pre-arranged time.
- A recommended ratio of adults to children is at least 1 to 8
juniors and 1 to 4 infants.
- WCC's Road Safety officers can walk the proposed route(s) at
the proposed times and discuss the routes with parents/volunteers
and/or school staff.
- All volunteers must wear high visibility tabards or waistcoats
during training and when operating the Bus.
- Schools will be required to ensure a CRB (Criminal
Records Bureau) check is completed for all Walking Bus
- 'Drivers' who have undergone satisfactory police checks and
training can specify the days (mornings and/or afternoons) they
wish to accompany the Bus and a rota can be established.
- Rotas, with the appropriate telephone numbers, should be
supplied to each volunteer and a procedure established for finding
a replacement if any escort cannot do their duty on a particular
day. If, for any reason, a minimum number of escorts can't be
provided then a journey will need to be cancelled. Every
attempt must then be made to inform the passengers and their
- A Consent Form needs to be written and sent out to all parents
whose children will be passengers. The School should keep
these completed and signed forms.
- The Co-ordinator will be the point of contact for matters
regarding the running of the Bus and his/her details must also be
made available to those involved.
- The procedure for recording any accidents needs to be set-up –
usually by writing any incidents in the school's Accident Book as
soon as possible. It is a good idea to agree behaviour rules also
and these can be included in the Consent Form.
- An information sheet, setting out how the Bus will operate
should be sent out to parents.
- The Walking Bus can then be publicised around the school and
its operation can commence on the agreed days of operation.
- Its operation should be monitored regularly and its routes and
timings can be adjusted as it becomes more popular to accommodate
It may be possible to get sponsorship for
hi-viz vests and some publicity material from a local business,
alternatively, please visit the co-operative
walking bus website.
To set-up your own school's Walking Bus,
please download the documents below: