A SCHOOL hopes pupils will be safer and healthier thanks to a new park and stride initiative.

Chester-le-Street CE Junior School, South Pelaw, is encouraging children who live nearby to walk to school rather than being driven.

Now youngsters who live further away and have to be driven can also get some walking done before lessons.

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Parents will be able to park in the car park at the Falcon Inn so their children can complete the rest of the journey on foot.

The scheme starts tomorrow (Friday, March 14). The school is working with national charity Living Streets and Durham County Council on the charity’s WoW (Walk once a Week) scheme.

Headteacher, Jane Proud said:"The WoW scheme has had a very positive impact and now almost three quarters of our pupils are walking to school.

“It’s an easy way to build some exercise into their day and they arrive in the classroom more alert and ready for lessons.

“The new Park and Stride scheme will allow those children who live further away to enjoy the benefits of walking to school.

"We’re immensely grateful to Gill Cardy at The Falcon Inn for kindly allowing use of the car park there."

Ms Cardy said:"As a business at the heart of the local community, we’re delighted to be supporting the Walk to School scheme. We hope all the children and their parents will enjoy their walk from the Falcon."

Living Streets Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: "One in five cars on the road at peak times is on the school run, but simply by walking the last ten minutes of the journey can make the streets around a school much safer."