Facts and figures

Facts and figures

Facts and figures

How many children in the UK walk to school?

In 2009, 50% of all children aged 5 to 10, and 38% of all children aged 11 to 16 walked to school in the UK (Department for Transport National Travel Survey 2009).

When you consider only the children who live less than 5 miles from school, the figures look like this:


Here at walkit.com we give a big thumbs up to those families and kids who walk it – particularly the small group of primary school children stepping out between 2 and 5 miles. Fantastic!

We’d love to persuade the parents of children living less than a mile from school, who are currently driving their children each day, to try it on foot. If that’s you, do read our list of benefits of walking to school. And perhaps plot a walkit.com route from your home to school and find out how long it would take you – you may be pleasantly surprised.

At what age can children start walking to school?

We don’t mean to sound tongue-in-cheek, but kids really can start walking to school (or nursery, or playgroup), as soon as they can walk. Obviously very young children will need a helping hand, and safety is important. It’s up to you to decide when they’re old enough to join a supervised walking bus, or to make their way to school safely on their own or with a group of friends.

What is the ‘statutory walking distance’?

The ‘statutory walking distance’ is used in the UK to determine if a pupil qualifies for free school transport, or if they're considered to live close enough to walk to school. The distance is calculated as the shortest route along which the pupil – accompanied if necessary – can walk with reasonable safety, so it includes pedestrian footpaths as well as roads. The distance is calculated from the child’s permanent home to school. For children aged 8 or under the statutory walking distance is 2 miles. For children over 8 years old, the statutory walking distance is 3 miles. For further information, do contact your child’s school.

How far is it reasonable for a child to walk to school?

Clearly, this isn’t a question with one easy answer. How far a child is able to walk depends on the child and possibly also the area in which you live. However, you might consider using the ‘statutory walking distance’, described above, as a guide. And perhaps think back to your own school days and consider how far you walked all those years ago?!

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