School run or school bus? It's all a question of class divide...

Parents in traditionally well-off areas are more likely to take their children by car

It's official: the country's laziest (or certainly most cosseted) children live in Windsor.

Official figures reveal that more children go to school by car in the Royal borough than in any part of England.

Nearly half are driven to lessons while just one in 20 cycles and one in 10 take a bus or train. In contrast children in Portsmouth and the Isles of Scilly are the most energetic. Around 70 per cent of them walk to school and one in five cycles. The figures, released by the Department of Transport, also dispel the myth of so-called Chelsea tractors ferrying young Henrys and Henriettas to private schools.

Well-off parts of London like Kensington, Westminster and Fulham have some of the lowest car use in the country – with less than one-in-10 children getting to lessons by vehicle.

It's also good news for the Olympics: In Newham, the London borough where the games will be held in 2012, 70 per cent of children walk every day.

The figures detail the percentage of school-age children who walk, cycle, take the car or public transport to school. Nationally it shows that around one in four children are taken to school by car. One in five get there by public transport, around half walk, while just two per cent on average are allowed to cycle.

It comes on the same day a study was published suggesting that children are less likely to walk to school as income and parental education increase. This would appear to tally with the new figures. Richer parts of the country such as Barnet, Surrey and Bath all had low levels of walking, while relatively deprived areas of the country such as Hull, Barking and Luton have high levels of walking.

However experts have cautioned that the availability of convenient public transport is also a key factor in determining the number of pupils who walk to school.

Recent medical research has found that walking to school in the morning can reduce stress in children during the school day. A one-mile walk was found to curb increases in heart rate and blood pressure that can lead to cardiovascular disease later in life.

Children who were given a simulated ride to school experienced a rise in blood pressure three times higher than those who took a simulated walk when taking an exam later in the day.

Last night councillors in Windsor appeared unconcerned about their poor showing in the tables. Colin Rayner, Cabinet member for Highways and Streetcare, said: "This just another unnecessary report showing meaningless statistics. We believe in giving our residents choice. Parents will take their children to school in the way they feel is the safest."



In Portsmouth, Cllr Terry Hall, Cabinet Member for Education said: ""We're not surprised that so many children walk to school in Portsmouth. Walking is a safe and healthy option and we're fortunate to have accessible routes, supported by crossing patrols, and many schools within easy reach.

"There have been many successful schemes in the city aimed at getting children more active, and the high number of children making their way to school on foot shows we're on the right path."



Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Living Streets – which runs the Walk to School initiative – said it was a concern just how much regional difference there was.

"These statistics show a huge variation in children's walking levels across the country," he said. "Local authorities like Portsmouth show how much can be achieved.

"Schools that have adopted the Walk Once a Week scheme report levels of walking at 10 percentage points higher than the average."

Where the most children are driven to school...

1. Windsor and Maidenhead

2. Blackburn

3. St Helens

4. Barnet

5. Warrington

6. Bournemouth

7. Telford and Wrekin

8. Surrey

9. Slough

10. Dudley

... and where most walk

1. Portsmouth

2. Isles of Scilly

3. Newham

4. City of London

5. Tower Hamlets

6. Kingston-upon-Hull

7. Waltham Forest

8. Southampton

9. Barking and Dagenham

10. Luton

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Administrator - Buckinghamshire - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?