BRENTWOOD: Best in county for walking bus
TWO Brentwood schools are among the greenest in the borough with the most 'walking buses' in the entire county.
The sixth walking bus route began in November to take pupils to St Thomas of Canterbury infant and junior schools.
SMART WALK: Andy Scott-Evans with pupils from the junior school.
Staff believe up to 15 per cent of pupils going to the schools will be using the walking bus by Christmas.
Most of these are pupils who would previously have travelled by car, so the scheme is having a big impact on cutting heavy traffic congestion in Sawyers Hall Lane.
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The new route from Doddinghurst Road, cuts through Sawyers Hall College to give an "as the crow flies" direct route to the schools, thanks to special permission granted by the college's head Stephen Capper.
Head teacher at the junior school Andy Scott-Evans said: "The new route will allow everyone that walks from the Doddingurst Road and the Ongar Road areas to get on board a 'bus' and travel more quickly and more safely to school.
"Two other 'buses' – from St George's Church and from the Brentwood Centre – also cut through the college.
Mr Scott-Evans added: "It is a major time-saver for those children that can cut through. We are very grateful for Mr Capper's co-operation."
The schools started the walking bus scheme only in January this year and by September, 55 of the 500 pupils were using one of the routes.
And Mr Scott-Evans believes this figure will rise to 15 per cent with the introduction of the new route.
Parents can drop their children off at one of the stops to join walking buses led by volunteers. Everyone wears a bright flourescent vest to make them stand out.
Mr Scott-Evans added: "Children that walk to school are more ready to learn and do better in lessons.
"I hope that there is going to be a point where we can say that no-one should be driving into Sawyers Hall Lane, but this is still a long way off at the moment."