Roath Park Primary School encourages parents to abandon the school run

A primary school in Roath has asked parents to dump their cars as record numbers of pupils are walking or cycling to school.

The number of children travelling to the school by car or bus has fallen from 35% to 15%, which means 150 more pupils are now walking, cycling or scootering.

The project, called Active Travel, is an initiative launched by Cardiff Council to encourage more schools to be sustainable. Roath Park Primary School have participated since 2018 and are now 7th highest in Wales for percentage of pupils walking to school.

The acting headteacher of the school, Mr Lewis Fitzgerald, said that they started the scheme because, ‘We had a lot of dangerous parking, a lot of very dangerous driving, so for us the priority in the first stage of the project was to try and get as safe a community as we could.’ The school installed a camera to discourage illegal parking, making it safer for pupils who walk.

Roath Park now want to focus on sustainability and protecting the environment through increasing pupils who walk or cycle. According to the school, 65% of their families live behind the school – but there is no easy access for them.

They are applying for a school street, which would prevent anyone being able to drive down the road at the start and end of the school day. Mr Fitzgerald says, ‘for us – it’s essential, its already been agreed by the local authority and the council that it will happen but we’re at the point now where the consultation will begin. It’s likely to be a 12-18 month project.’

He admitted that it won’t be possible to get 100% of pupils walking or cycling to school because some children who live far away or have disabilities ‘need to know it’s alright to come to school by car.’