A KEIGHLEY school is taking part in an award-winning initiative.

Beckfoot Nessfield has signed-up to WOW, a year-round project that encourages pupils to walk to school.

The scheme aims to cut traffic congestion outside the school gates – improving safety and reducing air pollution – whilst also boosting the youngsters’ health.

Behind WOW is the Living Streets charity, which says participating schools on average see a 23 per cent rise in the number of pupils walking to school and a corresponding drop in car use.

The children log their journeys to school each day using a special ‘travel tracker’ tool.

Those who walk to school at least once a week for a month then earn a WOW badge ­– with 11 to collect across the year.

The badges follow a new theme annually, with designs being created through a competition for pupils.

This year’s theme is Inventions that Changed the World, which will take the children on a global journey through time, celebrating some of the greatest inventions ever created.

Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, says the WOW initiative has been a huge success ­- bringing many benefits and proving enjoyable for pupils.

“Walking to school is an easy way for children to fit more activity into their day,” he said.

“More children walking to school means fewer cars around the school gates – making schools safer and cleaner places.

“WOW has increased walk-to-school rates at over 2,000 schools across the UK. It’s simple to run and pupils love to take part.

“We can’t wait to see what a difference it makes to the health and happiness of more pupils this year.”

Miss Jodie Hollings – the physical education lead at Beckfoot Nessfield, where there are 341 pupils – said the school was delighted to be taking part.

She added: “We’re really excited about running WOW and walking to school this year.

“Our pupils are looking forward to collecting the badges and experiencing the natural world around them each morning before class.

“We hope the scheme will ease traffic outside the school gates and teach pupils vital road safety skills.”

For further information about Living Streets and WOW, visit livingstreets.org.uk.