Eco-friendly schools across the county received an official stamp of approval for encouraging pupils and their families to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Altogether the top 27 schools participating in the KM Walk to School campaign gathered at Hempstead House in Bapchild, near Sittingbourne, to collect Green Travel Mark awards at silver, gold or platinum level.
Additional accolades were given to schools that also offer a walking bus service.
The campaign is run by the KM Charity Team and includes the programmes Walk on Wednesday (Wow) and Green Footsteps, which encourage families to swap the car for walking, cycling or scooting to school.
Winners were congratulated by campaign mascot Buster Bug along with representatives from green travel supporters Kent County Council, Medway Council, Ashford Borough Council, Maidstone Borough Council, Specsavers, Countrystyle Recycling, and Eurostar.
Joanna Wyndham, director of Specsavers in Faversham, applauded the schools for “getting kids fit and healthy, helping to reduce traffic on the way to school, and teaching them vital safety skills as pedestrians.”
One recipient was particularly proud of her pupils’ passion for Wow and the prestige attached to the pupil role of walk to school monitor.
Sarah Creed, assistant head teacher at Cage Green Primary School in Tonbridge, said: “The children are so enthusiastic about [the] role we’ve actually had to ration it so that they’re only the monitor for six weeks – they are just so keen to be the person counting the hands up [in class]!”
She said the monitors report the number of green journeys per class to the school’s head boy and head girl who in turn give the data to the office manager.
Mrs Creed added: “I’ve used walk to school in schools that I’ve worked in previously and I’ve seen how it can improve attendance – also the impact it can have on the local area reducing traffic.”
Vanessa Hayward from Countrystyle Recycling said she was “proud” to support the KM Walk to School campaign, adding: “It’s a great way to get the kids involved, keep them active, and saves on petrol for their mums and dads.”
Schools signing up to Wow for the 2019/20 academic year will receive a 20% discount on the price if they register before the end of this term.