Walking and cycling to school


There is no set age when children can walk to school on their own and most children of school age should be able to walk for 20 minutes (about 1 mile in distance).

Daily exercise helps to improve a child’s bone strength and muscle tone as well as increasing alertness and improving academic performance. It also increases their confidence and independence.

Parents should walk the chosen route with their child to assess whether they can make the journey independently and are able to cross roads safely.  It may be that other children take the same route to school and your child could join them. 

Alternatively, you could get together with friends and neighbours to form a walking bus. This is where children walk to school in a group under the supervision of adults.

If you live too far from the school, you could consider driving part of the way and walking the last part of the journey – ‘Park and Stride’.

In Dorset the weather is relatively mild and with sensible shoes, wet weather gear and a comfortable back pack your child will be able to walk to school throughout the year.

Not only will your child benefit from the extra exercise but the school community will benefit from decreased congestion and pollution in the school area.

You can download the footpath map to help you find the best journey.


Cycling just 15 minutes to and from school could make a difference to your child’s fitness and establish habits of healthy activity that could be life long. (Experts say that to stay fit, children need at least one hour of moderate physical activity every day).

If your child is going to ride to school it is important to make sure that their bike is the right size for them – the balls of their feet should just touch the ground and they should be able to turn the handlebars, brake and change gear with ease. Check the bike is in good working order and that your child knows how to use the brakes and gears.

Helmets should have a CE mark and meet standard BS EN 1078 or SNELL B.95. When worn correctly they should fit snugly, be level and sit just above the eyebrows with the straps around the ears, not over them. Make sure the straps are not twisted and they are securely fastened.

Any bicycle being ridden on public roads in the dark must be fitted with a white front light, a red rear light and a red rear reflector.

Books and equipment can be carried in a backpack providing it is not too heavy. If there is a lot to carry consider panniers or a basket.

Bikeability cycle training is available in Poole schools and Poole Park. Ask at school or contact us.

You can download the cycle map to help you find the best journey.

Page last updated: 17 June 2019
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