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Neyland walking bus helps cut school car journeys

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Pupils, teachers and parents at Neyland Community School in Pembrokeshire are starting and finishing the day with a healthy walk – and helping to reduce traffic congestion at the same time.

With help from Pembrokeshire County Council, Neyland Community School has recently set up a Walking Bus – a safe, fun and environmentally friendly way for pupils to travel to and from school.

Like a regular bus, the Walking Bus follows a set route and collects ‘passengers’ along the way to walk to school together.

Supervised by teachers and supported volunteers who have received DBS checks and training, the Walking Bus is easy to spot with pupil passengers in yellow hi-vis vests and ‘drivers’ wearing orange versions.

Neyland Community School Headteacher Clare Hewitt said the Walking Bus has provided a sociable and healthy start and finish to the day for everyone involved and helped reduce vehicle numbers around the school at traditionally busy times.

Neyland Walking Bus (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

Mrs Hewitt added: “The Walking Bus has been brilliant and I can honestly say, it’s a highlight of my day.

“The children love to walk with the staff, chatting about their day and enjoying each other’s company – we all arrive to school and at home with big smiles.

“It has also been a fantastic opportunity to talk to the children about road safety, and they are already very good at recognising how to do this safely.”

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The feedback has also been very positive from the pupil passengers.

One said: “The walking bus is amazing. I like spending time walking and talking to new friends and different teachers.”

Another added: “It is so special to me. I love walking with my Headteacher and my friends.”

Parents have also been enthusiastic about the Walking Bus.

“The kids are loving it,” said one. “It puts us at ease knowing they are safe.”

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Another added: “My child is so happy on the walking bus. It also helps her to learn the route for when she’s able to walk home on her own.”

Neyland Community School’s Walking Bus has been operating on a pilot basis with hopes to expand in the future.

Mrs Hewitt added: “We really hope to be able to roll this out in other areas in Neyland with the support of volunteers from families and/or the community.”

(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)

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Education

Over £100m spending on Pembrokeshire school building projects agreed

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Councillors in Pembrokeshire have agreed a significant investment in schools in the county

Proposals backed include a £62.4m investment in the community of Milford Haven with the creation of new-build primary and secondary schools in the town through the use of the Welsh Government Mutual Investment Model (MIM).

Councillors also agreed the teaching and learning environments for children who attend Portfield School in Haverfordwest and the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre (PLC) in Neyland need to be significantly improved, with a £38.5m investment into the two sites. This work will be funded under Band B of the 21st Century Schools Programme.

A total of £20.3m will be invested at Portfield School, which provides education for pupils with statements of special educational needs aged between 3-19 years.

Meanwhile £18.2m will be spent on improving the Neyland site of the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre, which provides education for pupils aged between 11 and 16 with complex needs.

Cllr Guy Woodham, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “While there are further stages as part of both the Band B 21st Century Schools funding and separate MIM proposal that we now need to successfully complete in partnership with Welsh Government, today represents a significant positive step forward in achieving Cabinet’s commitment to delivering all 21st Century School capital projects and significant investment in Milford Haven, Portfield School and the PLC.

“My thanks go to all those who have worked very hard to get us to where we are today, and I look forward to continuing to work with all those now involved in successfully delivering these exciting school capital projects that will provide the best educational facilities for learners.”

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