YOUNGSTERS in Worcestershire have been encouraged to walk to school this week as part of a national drive.

More than 500,000 pupils took part in Walk to School Week nationally last year and this year is shaping up to be even bigger.

Since Monday Worcestershire County Council has been urging pupils and parents or carers to leave the car at home and give walking a go this Walk to School Week.

The initiative is an attempt to get pupils active and healthy and it’s also a great opportunity for children to learn vital road safety skills and make sure they’re alert and ready to learn at the start of a new day.

The council has been helping to promote Walk to School Week through staff and pupils alike.

They say parents who walk find the journey to school less stressful, their petrol bill goes down, their children perform better at school and that they, and their children, feel healthier and fitter.

Frances Howie, head of public health, from Worcestershire County Council, said: "The council is keen to promote daily exercise in the lives of our school children.

"There are great health gains to be made from getting more active, and building more physical activity into daily routines is the easiest way to do this.

"For many people, it isn't possible to walk all the way to school, but the national Walk to School week is a good prompt to park a ten minute walk away from the school, and see what the benefits are, even if you can't walk all the way.

"It is good to see schools across the County getting involved, as they have in previous years."

One of these schools was Cherry Orchard Primary School in Warndon. Both staff and pupils have been taking the time to walk wherever possible.

Jeremy Harwood, head teacher at Cherry Orchard Primary School, said: "We take part in the Walk to School Week every year. The school is ideally situated within a network of pathways and cycle routes that lead to the school. It's a great way for children to stay active."