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Transport Minister joins youngsters on their walk to their East London school

PUBLISHED: 19:33 15 October 2015 | UPDATED: 19:33 15 October 2015

Transport Minister joins kids on walk to school [photos: Jon Challicom]

Transport Minister joins kids on walk to school [photos: Jon Challicom]

(c) jon challicom

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill went by ‘Shanks Pony’ to join children in East London on their ‘walk to school’ campaign.

He met pupils and parents yesterday heading to St Anne’s Primary as they took their familiar route through the streets of Whitechapel.

...crossing the road safely heading to school...crossing the road safely heading to school

The campaign is ‘in step’ with government policy, with Whitehall having dished out £4.7 million since 2011 to promote walking for children all over the country—hoping to cut ‘the school run’ clogging up the roads.

“It’s fantastic that so many children at St Anne’s Primary make their journeys on foot,” the Minister said. “Walking to school should be safe and easy for all children.”

But it wasn’t hard finding children in London’s East End walking—Tower Hamlets is Britain’s fifth most-deprived borough where few families can afford a car anyway.

Anna Cieslik, a teacher and parent of a five-year-old boy at St Anne’s in Underwood Road who accompanied the Transport Minister on his walk, said: “We always walk or cycle, which takes 20 minutes and helps us keep fit.

Robert Goodwill learns from the children about the walk to schoolRobert Goodwill learns from the children about the walk to school

“It also gives parents ‘quality time’ with children—and the kids enjoy it.”

Youngsters in Tower Hamlets are among the most obese in the country, with one-in-four aged 11 and one-in-seven aged five overweight, according to Health Ministry statistics.

The walk to school idea is a national campaign ‘driven’ by the Living Streets charity.

Their chief executive Joe Irvin warned: “Three-out-of-four children aren’t getting enough physical activity.

...arriving safely at St Anne's Primary in Underwood Road...arriving safely at St Anne's Primary in Underwood Road

“We need to prioritise walking, before the inactive children of today become the unhealthy adults of tomorrow.”

Less than half the country’s children walk to school, just 46 per cent of primary-aged children, according to a national travel survey, which worries the charity. So October has been designated ‘International Walk to School’ month.