Community News From Around Our Area

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street Goes Back to his Old School in Solihull

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street paid a visit to his old primary school to see how pupils there were enjoying a new scheme that encourages them to walk to school.

Mr Street, who grew up in Solihull and now heads up the West Midlands Combined Authority, popped into Langley Primary School, in St Bernards Road on 21st June to join children in the WOW Challenge, a scheme created by charity Living Streets.

“It was wonderful to go back to Langley,” Mr Street said, “But the funny thing is that it was a complete coincidence. I had said that I wanted to visit one of the 60 schools that the Combined Authority works with, and that I really wanted to see a Living Streets project in action.

“I was overjoyed when I found out I was going to my old school, and I had a fantastic time there meeting the children and the staff.”

The WOW Challenge aims to reduce congestion and pollution from cars around school gates, and sees schools signed up to reward children who walk to school at least once a week with collectable badges.

Under the Langley scheme, parents drop their children off at the car park of nearby Olton Friary. The pupils then walk the rest of the way to school, enjoying fresh air and a sociable start to the day.

“Living Streets is a huge success at Langley School,” Mr Street said, “It’s an enormous credit to them that they have got 84% of their children walking, scooting or cycling to school – which is an incredibly high percentage, and makes them one of the best examples of a Living Streets project in the region.

“I walked with the pupils from Olton Friary, who have been very supportive of the scheme, and the children were chatting away with each other. Then I joined them in an assembly and found myself sitting in the same hall that I had used 50 years before as a pupil. In fact, the buildings and playground haven’t changed that much in all these years – it was wonderful to go back.”

Mr Street also praised Solihull Council for introducing parking restrictions that supported the scheme.

“This is a great example of how Living Streets, the council, the school and the community can drive a really wonderful, healthy change in behaviour,” he added.