SCHOOLS across Worcestershire are being encouraged to launch walking bus services to reduce congestion.

The county council says walking buses provide a safe option for children to get to school safely while reducing congestion around schools.

The idea is that children walk together with teachers and volunteer parents, wearing high visibility jackets from a meeting place to a school.

Astwood Bank Primary School’s walking bus launched in November 2014 to help reduce traffic around the school in the mornings.

Sam Yates, teaching assistant at the school, said "Though the aim of the walking bus was to reduce congestion around the school, it also gives the children the chance to have a little bit of exercise in the mornings by walking to school in a controlled and safe environment.”

Astwood Bank Primary School’s walking bus starts from Smiles Nursery and takes the short route to the school. Parents have been given permission to drop their children at the nursery’s car park, meaning parents do not have to go near to the school.

Sam Yates said: “Children are encouraged to learn about pedestrian safety on the journey to school including how to cross a road safely and walk in single file along narrow footpaths.”

The Road Safety at Worcestershire County Council assesses walking bus routes and can provide the high visibility jackets.

Schools interested in launching a walking bus service can email or phone 01905 763763.