Youngsters from across the county conquered a double challenge to find Kent and Medway’s top green travellers and best bookworms.
The competition was run by children’s educational charity the KM Charity Team as part of its walk to school programmes Super Wow (Walk on Wednesday) and Green Footsteps, and its reading reward scheme Buster’s Book Club.
Hundreds of pupils persuaded parents to swap driving for pounding the pavement to cut the number of school-run car journeys on the road. And at home, they buried themselves in books in a bid to build up the biggest number of reading minutes.
Classes clocking up the most impressive numbers of green journeys or minutes spent reading were crowned district champions.
Twenty schools from Ashford, Sittingbourne, Canterbury, Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Dover, Dartford, Gravesham, Medway, and Sheerness were represented at a celebration staged at Leeds Castle in Maidstone.
Two representatives from each winning class were invited to the event where they received framed certificates to display in school and vouchers for either Leeds Castle or Wildwood to distribute amongst their classmates.
Among those celebrating a green travel win was Elliot Jordon, nine, from Canterbury Primary, who said: “We walk on Wednesday because it’s healthy and it keeps everyone fit and it reduces the amount of pollution that is let into the air.”
Caroline Beverley, teacher at Hever CofE Primary in Sevenoaks, was delighted her pupils won the district prize for reading. “We started Buster’s Book Club two years ago and it’s been incredibly successful,” she said. “We found that about 40 per cent more children are reading across the school on a weekly basis, which is just fantastic.”
Congratulating the children were walk to school mascot Wanda and supporters from Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Rotary Dawn Patrol, Countrystyle Recycling, Acorns Read and Grow, The Education People, and Ashford, Medway, and Maidstone councils.
Maidstone borough councillor Derek Mortimer said: “We fully support the walk to school campaign. It’s clean and it’s green, encouraging people to get out of their cars, it’s healthy for the children – and the main thing is we want to get cars off the road and also reduce pollution.”
Sean Carter of The Education People emphasised the importance of good literacy skills in enabling young people to access their education. He added: “Buster’s Book Club gives that opportunity for the children to read for enjoyment – and not feel that necessarily it’s just in school – and also encouraging the parents to sit down and read with their children.”
Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, said: “It’s a pleasure to reward our winners who really stepped up their game for this challenge. I’d also like to congratulate the schools for supporting and encouraging the children to be more active and to embrace a love of books.
“We hope this special event and host of prizes will encourage everyone to keep up the good work.”
Walk to school:
Victoria Road Primary School – Elephant Class – Wildwood vouchers
Langdon Primary School – Dover Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Canterbury Primary School – Branson Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Singlewell Primary School – Turtles Class – Wildwood vouchers
Deanwood Primary School – Cedar Class – Wildwood vouchers
West Borough School – Sycamore Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Kemsley Primary Academy – Sycamore Class – Wildwood vouchers
West Minster Primary School – Primrose Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Buster’s Book Club:
Preston Primary School – Class One – Wildwood vouchers
Bridge and Patrixbourne School – Green Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Dartford and Gravesham
Dartford Primary Academy – Poseidon Class – Wildwood vouchers
Painters Ash Primary School – Chestnut Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Bradfields Academy – PD Class – Wildwood vouchers
Kingfisher Primary School – Year 6 – Leeds Castle vouchers
Hever CEP School – Oak Class – Wildwood vouchers
Palace Wood Primary School – Elephants Class – Wildwood vouchers
St Francis’ Catholic Primary School – St Paul Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
St Edward’s Catholic Primary School – Year 3 – Wildwood vouchers
Elliott Park School – Saxon Class – Leeds Castle vouchers
Temple Grove Academy – Pine Class – Leeds Castle vouchers