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90% of students at a Cardiff Primary School walking, cycling or wheeling to school

12 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Pupils at Howardian Primary

A primary school in Cardiff, that has been at the forefront of encouraging families to ditch the car, has seen almost one third of its pupils (31%) change how they travel to school since launching its campaign in 2018.

Through a collaborative effort with the Cardiff Council’s active travel team, Howardian Primary School in Penylan, has introduced cycle clubs, training sessions, and events like ‘Bling Your Ride’ and ‘Spring Bling’.

By engaging with parents and pupils from nursery to year six, nine in ten pupils are now walking, cycling, or scooting to school on a regular basis.


Helen Thomas, Active Travel Lead said: “When the school first opened in 2015, we knew we wanted to become an active travel school.

“We worked in partnership with Cardiff Council to set out our active travel plan which included goals and initiatives to engage, inspire, and support our pupils and their families in travelling actively to school.

“At the beginning just over half (58%) of the children actively travelled to school but now it’s 90% of pupils.”

One of the standout changes introduced by the school is the WOW Tracker program, supported by Living Streets and funded by Cardiff Council. This programme incentivises active travel by rewarding students with badges for regularly walking, cycling, or wheeling to school.


Helen added “The WOW Tracker has been a brilliant as it’s helped to foster a sense of accomplishment and participation in sustainable practises. Our initiatives are also for all students, regardless of their mode of transportation from wheelchair walks to park and strides.”

Howardian Primary actively engages parents in their active travel initiatives, providing information through newsletters and social media platforms like X (Twitter). By sharing updates on events, competitions, and student achievements, the school ensures that parents are involved and supportive of their children’s active travel endeavours.

Helen said: “Parents have been really supportive of our initiatives as well. When pupils first start, we try to encourage them to travel actively one or two days a week and work up to everyday.

“The school has given lots of information to parents and guardians to help them with this, from maps with park and stride areas highlighted on it to a special newsletter for active travel updates.

“We have previously had sessions after school where all family members can have their bicycles serviced and repaired for free on site, we really want to inspire families to not only join their children in active travelling to school but feel confident doing so.”


Howardian Primary School’s commitment to promoting active travel extends beyond its own campus. The school participates in active travel meetings with other schools and collaborates with the Cardiff Council’s active travel team to share best practices and resources.

This collaborative approach has led to Howardian Primary being recognized as a leader in promoting sustainable transportation practices among schools in Wales.

The Welsh Government is committed to act on climate change. It has been working on improving the infrastructure for people to travel without cars by developing dedicated cycle lanes, pathways, and active travel routes in both rural and urban areas across Wales.

It is also working with organisations and businesses across the country for collective action to create a cleaner, greener Wales. For more information visit

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