EarthSense Collaborates with WSP to Investigate Air Pollution Around London Schools

EarthSense, the air quality expert, is collaborating with professional services and consulting firm, WSP to assess the air quality around a consortium of schools in London.

EarthSense Zephyr® air quality sensors have been deployed throughout a group of schools in the City of London due to the growing concern of parents and teachers about the impact of high levels of air pollution on pupils’ long-term health. Zephyr® sensors are situated in the main reception and outdoor areas of each site to help identify and mitigate sources generating spikes in air pollution.

The project sees Zephyr® air quality sensors recording concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) in and around each location to establish the exposure levels pupils and staff experience during school times.

Using an active sampling mechanism which takes ambient air pollution measurements every 10 seconds via an inlet, followed by releasing the sample through a separate air outlet, Zephyr® air quality sensors provide WSP project managers with real-time NO2 and PM2.5 measurements which are viewed via the EarthSense web app, MyAir®. The web app provides users with quantified information about measured air pollutant concentrations, which can be viewed in an interactive map, downloaded, and analysed. Using this data, those involved in the project can easily identify spikes and trends in air pollution levels. 

Once dangerous NO2 levels are detected, air quality data from the sensors will be used to determine the requirement for, and gauge the success of, measures to reduce pollution. Once determined, informed pollution interventions can be implemented and supporting data can be used to keep parents of pupils and staff notified about pollution levels. Schools will now be able to advise parents and pupils on actions to take to reduce their exposure to poor air quality on their journeys to and from school.

Dr Peter Walsh, Technical Director at WSP stated: “The Zephyr® sensors have proven to be the optimal device for our clients’ needs as they are unobtrusive, relatively silent monitoring devices, and require minimal manual intervention. They have provided our client with a continuous feed of both ambient and indoor air quality data, and an instantaneous data download, via MyAir®, from within a classroom environment with no disruption to the pupils or class activities.”

Commenting on the project, Managing Director at EarthSense, Tom Hall adds: “We initially started working with WSP to carry out a study on a traffic management system in the Midlands and it’s great to see our partners using our products and services across a variety of other industries impacted by air pollution.”                                                                                                                                    
Tom continues: “It’s important that we continue to work on projects like these as London experiences higher levels of pollution than anywhere else in the UK. With almost nine million people residing in the city, in conjunction with the lack of open green spaces available, emissions from the increased number of vehicles and underground transport get trapped in built-up areas and can enter the respiratory system of those nearby.”




Triton Construction has completed the delivery of a critical new £3.5 million extension for Chorlton Park Primary School in Manchester, despite considerable setbacks caused by the pandemic.

At the end of last year Triton secured the 12-month contract to demolish an existing 1960’s school block and replace it with a new state-of-the-art facility including 8 classrooms and a sports hall.  The works also included external drainage and landscaping.

The project was subsequently beset by considerable restrictions to site activity and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic.  Since it was imperative that the school was able to access the extended facilities by the October 2021 term, Triton anticipated shortage of materials such as bricks and glazing and pulled out all stops secure advanced supplies. It also recalculated an already complicated contractor works programme to adhere to restrictive distancing rules to prevail.

Chris Quinn, at Triton Construction, said, “We are delighted to hand over the extension to Chorlton Park Primary School on time and on budget, despite the various setbacks.  With prior preparation and planning it is not impossible to deliver, even in unforeseeable circumstances.  We attribute this to the fantastic collaboration between all parties to achieve a common goal and the school itself has been hugely cooperative and flexible.

Triton Construction has extensive experience in all areas of the education sector with recent projects including a £6 million refurbishment and new-build teaching facilities at Astrea Academy Woodfield in Doncaster, a £1.95 million extension to Bolton Muslim Girls School, a £2 million extension block for Pennistone Grammar School in Barnsley, and a new £1.75 million classroom block extension for Sharples School in Bolton.

In the last few years Triton has seen a significant increase in work across the education sector.Over the last 12 months it has completed 10 school extension or upgrade projects valued at over £25 million.

Triton’s learning sector portfolio also includes a new library and further refurbishments for Leeds College of Music, a £2.3 million High Needs Vocational Centre for Shipley College, a £3.5 million science block and state of the art learning link for Bradford Grammar School and a £4 million transformation of a derelict building to house Norfolk Park Special School in Sheffield.


Teenagers’ only lifeline in lockdown comes via a mental health app

With mental health concerns for young people increasing and normal full-time schooling for every child unlikely to return for some time, some schools have turned to a new phone app in an effort to support their students’ wellbeing.  


The EduKit app, created by a social enterprise of the same name, enables students to send an alert to their school if they are feeling unhappy or unsafe at home so teachers can step in and help if needed.


The app also delivers targeted support to the student so if anxiety or online bullying is the problem, the student can be directed to a school-recommended counselling service or guides and video resources that will support them.


Emilie Darabasz, joint head of school and pastoral lead at Frances Bardsley Academy in Essex, who is using the app with their 1,476 students said: “The cumulative impact of this lockdown on young people can not be underestimated. They are not only dealing with their own issues but absorbing the emotions of their parents and carers too, many of whom are facing financial hardship and job losses.


“There is a sense of hopelessness in some children and with no end date in sight, they need support. The app means we can send help right into their hands at the point they need it. They can be directed to resources to help or they can message a teacher trained to deal with their concerns.”


The app has been developed by EduKit’s co-founder, Nathalie Richards, who was inspired by her own experience of being bullied at school: “I wanted no child to feel alone in dealing with a problem at home or school.


“The first lockdown made me very concerned for those who did not have someone they felt they could talk to. I had to make sure that would not be the case this time around and so we made sure the app was available for schools soon after this lockdown was announced. It’s important that teenagers know they can get help no matter what they are going through.”


The development of the EduKit app has been part funded by the Inclusive Recovery Fund from Comic Relief and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


Kaligo, the AI digital handwriting app, shortlisted for two BETT Awards

The technology awards for education, The BETT Awards, finalists were announced on Friday, with Kaligo being shortlisted in two categories for their AI digital handwriting app, Early Years and Digital Apps.


The BETT Awards are usually hosted at the BETT Show in London on in January each year but delayed due to the pandemic and the winners will be announced in June. 


Faisal Hamid, Director at Kaligo explains: “It’s wonderful for the Kaligo team to be recognised as a global leader in technology for schools.  To reach the finals in two categories, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, just shows the hard work and dedication from our team this year.  For the many schools now using Kaligo, they are already seeing the benefits, witnessing the improvements in outcomes, as well as the joy Kaligo brings to the pupils, particularly through remote learning, it’s really helping.”


Kaligo combines years of neuroscientific research with the latest AI technology and is a new tool that will help teachers highlight handwriting difficulties in a few minutes.  Teachers choose their preferred handwriting scheme and either a pre-set lesson or set their own lesson for their pupils. 


This new development is set to revolutionise how younger children learn the fundamentals of handwriting.  Through Kaligo teachers can deliver the lesson, provide instant and individual interventions, as well as actively monitor the progress for every child in the class. All without adding to their workload.


Talking about Kaligo, the Kent ICT Champion of the Year, Matthew Tragheim said: “Kaligo provides instant feedback and children can hone their handwriting through their own choice – we can see progress as children have a passion for it.  The instant feedback given through Kaligo has a huge impact on handwriting improvement.  We’ve recently launched our impact trial which will help teachers see for the first time, concrete evidence of the positive impact of edTech in the classroom”


With Kaligo, pupils find handwriting more fun as the colourful and intuitive screens on tablets most pupils are already familiar with, making the task of handwriting more exciting.  Kaligo then stores the data so teachers can easily monitor progress and provides teachers with the deep dive knowledge they need through its constant classroom assessment.


Approved by the DfE Hungry Little Minds campaign, Kaligo has also been recognised by many awards organisations, including the GESS Education Awards.  Kaligo is a member of the National Handwriting Association and a member of the latest cohort of the UCL Educate programme.


If you would like you find out more about our free impact trial or Kaligo, please visit for more information.


The most Googled questions about home-schooling children, answered by an education expert

With the nation still in lockdown and schools set to open on March 8th, home-schooling is still a regular activity in many households. Home-schooling your child can be challenging for both parties. Your daily routines have been upturned since last March and the normal we once had, seems like a distant memory. Before schools closed in the pandemic, only 60,000 of the 11.5 million in the UK were being home schooled, so it has been a brand-new situation for many people.

It’s more than natural to feel anxious and worried, especially if you need to work from home and are struggling to find a balance. The main thing you can do is to stay calm; you will be no use to yourself or your child if you give yourself a hard time. To show you that you’re not alone, we have asked education expert at The Profs, Richard Evans to share the answers to the most googled questions about home-schooling children.


  1. How many hours a day should I spend on schooling?

There is no expectation for you to be working with your child from 9am-3pm straight! In a classroom setting, the teacher will have no choice but to split their time between 20-30 children, whereas at home they’re getting one on one attention. Productivity can be high in a focused 20 minutes in comparison to a busy classroom filled with other pupils and distractions. At home, the school day doesn’t have to be a strict 6-hour schedule, you will find that activities can be completed in a shorter amount of time.


  1. How do I structure the day?

The best way to start the school day is with some exercise! This will trigger feel-good hormones and boost endorphins for the day ahead. Even though they’re not travelling to school, it’s important to have them dressed and ready for the day by around 9am, this will make it easier to blend back into routine when school reopen. When it comes to planning your day, there is no such thing as right or wrong. It is more than likely that your child’s teacher will be conducting live lessons which will help you decide when to set your activities. It’s important to remember that every individual works differently, some children will concentrate better in short 20-minute sessions whilst others need a longer focus period.


By now, you should have detected what time of the day your child’s concentration span is thriving, plan priority lessons or activities when they are most alert. Younger children will need more supervision but if your child is older, you can set daily activities and let them choose the order. This will encourage them to work to their own timeframe with your support.


  1. How do I limit screen time?

Home-schooling does involve an increase in your child’s screen time. The usual classroom activity that would involve paper to pen activity may now be transferred to a virtual task. It is possible to monitor the amount of time that your child spends on electronics, but it won’t come without a pushback. YouTube videos are great for visual learning, but this can turn into an activity that is longer than intended.


As a family, collectively discuss when screen time needs to be reduced and implement a few days around live lessons to focus solely on off screen activities. Provide them with books and print outs to extend their learning experience offline.


  1. How do I help my child if they’re falling behind?

Your child might still be adjusting to learning without a classroom. Not physically engaging with their friends and teachers could result in learning setbacks. Not all children will learn and develop at the same rate, the term ‘falling behind’ accounts to your child’s own potential rate of progress and not the progress of others.  You should identify the area of the curriculum in which they’re struggling with, it could be the whole curriculum or a few areas. You should then see how fundamental it is to the rest of their work. If the skills are needed to succeed in the subject, for example basic fractions, you need to focus on removing this weakness as they progress in their year group. Once you have this knowledge, speak to your child’s teacher. Working together you can create a joint strategy which can carry on through live lessons and your one-on-one time. They can also point to you the direction of helpful activities and websites.


  1. Should I get a private tutor for my child?

Education is best handled by experienced experts. In many cases, it may become apparent that home-schooling is hindering your child’s educational development. The most common factors that we have seen are lack of teaching structure, lack of subject knowledge and, most commonly, the impossibility of managing a full-time job with full-time homeschooling! If you feel that home schooling is more challenging than it needs to be, it might be worth contacting a tutoring agency. We recommend those with designated education consultants who can pick up the phone and discuss with you whether a private tutor is right for your child.

A private tutor can add much-needed structure and a healthy dose of fresh energy to your child’s weekly studies. They will have the time to create personalised lesson plans that target your child’s specific, individual weakness and the experience to make the learning objectives stick. Modern online private tutoring may be more budget-friendly than you’d expect as the industry has seen dramatic innovations over the past years, with 41% of Londoners using private tuition before lockdown. Lastly, you do not need to invest in private tuition for all subjects. Many families just focus on one subject, such as Math’s or English, which is causing particularly high levels of stress.

  1. What if I don’t understand the subject or task they are doing?

Lockdown learning and the sudden thrust to become a teacher can leave you feeling overwhelmed. If the school and your child’s teacher have set daily work, it can feel like an obligation to get through everything and have extensive knowledge on each subject. The key thing to remember is you’re not teaching; you’re facilitating their learning. If you think back to when you were at school, the curriculum has changed dramatically. Home schooling is about a switch of environment.  If you don’t understand a subject or task, it’s ok to admit this to your child, in fact it might even make them feel at ease. As a parent, you set the example that you don’t need to know everything and there is always space to learn. This will be comforting to your child.


  1. How do I maintain discipline during lessons?

Turning a home environment, one that coordinates fun and leisure, into a place of discipline can be tricky. Children perceive home and parents differently to a classroom full of peers and teachers. You might still be struggling to set the tone for your home school, but the key ingredient is to stay calm. Losing your temper will not only disrupt the atmosphere but will also make your child less reactive to learn. Children tend to follow suit when they know what to expect. Same as in a classroom, a schedule will be a simple tool to accelerate education. If they can clearly see when a break or lunch period is incoming, it will motivate them to complete the prior task to enjoy it. This isn’t a strict schedule but something to base your days around.


  1. How do children get the socialisation they would normally get with their friends at school?

One of the most challenging aspects of home schooling is seeing your child miss their friends. Having time to spend with friends is essential for children’s development and well-being. In lockdown, virtual sessions have replaced physical contact and it’s important your child retains their friendship via video calls. Zoom sessions are great for reminding children their friends are in the same situation. You should also try to recreate your children’s favourite activity at home. Take time to switch off from parent mode and play with your kids. Make paintings, play games and ultimately let them take the lead. Interactive games such as scavenger hunts will allow your child to have fun and create a distinction between school and home.




Jab our teachers so schools can open, says public

The UK public is so desperate for schools to re-open that nearly two-thirds are willing to hand their Covid-19 vaccine to a teacher.

With the debate about schools reaching fever pitch amid concern for children’s mental health, digital pollsters asked more than 5,000 people “Would you be willing to delay your Covid-19 vaccine so that a teacher/school staff can be vaccinated earlier?”

More than 63% say Yes. That figure rises to above 74% among 35-44 year-olds.

Moreover, 44% of those who said yes would be willing to put back their vaccine by six months or more so teachers and other school staff can get a jab.

You can see the full results here

Another Find Out Now poll conducted on Monday the 25th showed that 73% believe teachers and support staff should be vaccinated before primary schools can reopen.

Today Boris Johnson told Parliament that schools won’t re-open until March 8 at the earliest.

About the survey

The survey of 6,629 members of Pick My Postcode was conducted on Tuesday 26th of January. Find Out Now adjusted the results to get a nationally representative sub-sample of 2,000 within +/-1% of ONS quotas for Age, Gender, Region, socio-economic group and past voting using machine learning. 

For further information, or to request a poll or survey, contact us on


Severn Trent Continues a Mission of Support for the National Space Centre

The National Space Centre has been awarded essential funding from the Severn Trent Community Fund, to help the charity develop a brand-new gallery at the award-winning visitor attraction. 


The Severn Trent Community Fund is overseen by a Community Fund Panel made up of Severn Trent customers who review applications and so, ultimately, it’s the customers who decide where the money goes. 


This is not the first time Severn Trent has supported the development of the National Space Centre. In 1997, its Trustees were struggling to find a site in Leicester until Severn Trent donated a storm water tank on a sewage treatment works, where it has since been joined by the Dock and Dock II innovation centres and Space Park Leicester, which opens in summer 2021. 


The new gallery, Earth from Space, will explore how the data provided by satellites is vital for managing our relationship with our home planet, a subject matter very close to the heart of Severn Trent and its communities. 


The funding has also helped the Leicestershire-based charity retain team members, who have been able to work from home to work with partners to develop ideas and content to help tell this important story.  


The new gallery will be launched to the public early in 2022. 


Chas Bishop, Chief Executive at the National Space Centre, said: “These have been really difficult times for so many people, but working with the Severn Trent team on such an exciting project gives us plenty to look forward to when we can reopen the doors. It is great to work with a partner who feels as passionately about the science behind their work as we do, as well as understanding the positive difference their funding can make to support the people living and working within their communities.” 


Sue Heyes, Community Fund Officer from Severn Trent, added: “We’re absolutely delighted that our funding will help make a huge difference at the National Space Centre, somewhere we know our customers and communities value highly. We know the past year has been extremely difficult for all, so we’re proud that we’ve been able to support with such an exciting project, that will bring enjoyment and education around the fascinating world of space, and make a positive impact to the community.” 


The Severn Trent Community Fund is giving away up to £10million over the next five years to support new projects by local charities and community groups in the Severn Trent region – helping to make a real and tangible difference in their communities. 


What is next for UK Edtech in the pandemic era?

25 January 2020: Even before the global pandemic, the UK was considered as Europe’s EdTech hub. As the new demands of home learning have accelerated the industry’s product offerings and processes, the full breadth and scope of the UK’s Edtech portfolio have made us pause to celebrate their quality and success. It has also made us think what further support is needed to make sure that those that need the services of EdTech most (parents/carers/teachers) are able to find and access them.
In a recent report published by London & Partners, London-based EdTech companies raised a total of $124 million in VC during 2019, positioning it as the largest EdTech ecosystem in Europe. At Downing Ventures, we are proud to work with some of the very best EdTech companies in the world that have had to modify and hasten their business offering to provide much-needed solutions to the challenges that Covid-19 has created for education.
Closing the attainment gap
One thing that each of our EdTech portfolio can agree on is that Covid-19 and lockdown has caused the attainment gap to widen and resulted in a massive need to help students catch up. Government funding has increased to reflect this.
Third Space Learning (TSL) has recruited a global tutor community to provide high quality, affordable online tuition to children in schools across the UK, helping to close the attainment gap.
Founder and CEO, Tom Hooper comments:
“The government launched a £1 billion catch up fund this year, within which TSL was chosen as one of 33 school tutoring businesses to participate in the National Tutoring Programme. We have been able to put in place tuition for tens of thousands of disadvantaged pupils very quickly given our global tutor model. In addition, we have launched a product in the US in partnership with a large US EdTech company. We integrated our tutor operations with their student community, allowing us to launch quickly and with low risk. This global partnership reflects the strengths of our platform model.”
A company supporting three of the tuition providers from the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) is EdPlace, who offer industry-leading and curriculum-aligned English, maths and science home learning for years 1 – 9 with all resources written by experienced teachers.
As the business has always focused on home learning, they had a great product fit for lockdown. However, prior to Covid-19, they were a premium only product. They recognised the need to quickly open up the platform for free whilst not undermining their business model and so, during the first lockdown, Edplace made their resources on the website accessible without an account.
Breaking down barriers to entry were key. As pupils prepared to go back to school in September 2020, they launched free ‘catch-up’ assessments to identify learning gaps following school closures. It was also recently named as number 3 on a list of 100 things that the Mumsnet community swore by in 2020.
Empiribox, a science education specialist provider, created an already twice-award-winning product service, Empiribox @ Home, helping to create those ‘wow’ moments for primary school pupils at home, in a safe and engaging way. It provides access to a complete library of curriculum-aligned and engaging interactive science lessons that include interactive videos, supporting resources and adaptable hands-on activities, even if schools aren’t open.
For teachers, this means they can assign any lesson to pupils to complete, using readily available materials found around the home. For parents and carers, it means they have access to their very own dedicated science teacher at home.
Empiribox’s CEO, Richard McGrath comments:
“If Covid has shown us anything, it is just how important science is to the world’s wellbeing. Sadly, the UK has a massive skills shortage in terms of science graduates and this issue needs to be addressed well before pupils arrive in a secondary school setting. At Empiribox, we are committed to the advancement of practical science in primary schools and through our new Empiribox @ Home service, we can now support delivery of this goal using online digital video lessons that can be used in school and at home.”
The New Parent TA
Helping parents be as fully engaged in their children’s education while also playing the role of teaching assistant is a solution that Firefly had found before the pandemic. The Firefly platform is a school learning tool that gives teachers more time to teach, enables students to learn in ways that work best for them and involves parents with their child’s learning every step of the way. The platform keeps parents up to date with their child’s progress and enables teachers to provide parents with the resources they need to support learning outside the classroom, which all have been vital during lockdown.
The Firefly team had a head start in their preparation for the first UK lockdown, as schools that used their platform in Hong Kong needed it to be modified as they began remote learning during the protests in 2019. Firefly identified the best quick-to-adopt practice and the result was an onboarding process that took days rather than weeks.
“Building institutional muscle memory is crucial for the future of pedagogy. We need to give parents and teachers the tools to know what to do so they have them at hand for whenever they need them. Self-isolation and teaching bubbles will continue to exist for the foreseeable future so it is our mission to make sure all parents that engage with our community are using it to be set up for success,” says Firefly’s CEO and founder, Simon Hay.
Importance of agility
Being agile in these unpredictable times is key to enabling the most successful and efficient service. Kinderly’s award-winning early years software provides digital reporting, child-development tracking tools, training and resources to enable early years childcare professionals to be at their best so they can give the children in their care the best start in life, regardless of their background or economic circumstances. 
With the early years community heavily impacted, Kinderly wanted to find a way to support early years professionals (EYPs), help them stay in touch with the children they normally care for and support the parents with the huge and daunting task of home learning. Thanks to their rapid agility, Kinderly has transformed and grown their business by almost 300% during the pandemic and launched in new markets.
Kinderly’s digital platforms created a unique opportunity to access their free support package and resources that include a Covid-19 resource bank, much-loved and celebrated weekly expert webinars that reaches up to 10,000 EYP’s, continuing professional development with Kinderly Learn, a Facebook community group, weekly activity bulletins (with a list of age-appropriate activities) and yoga for children.
While Kinderly haven’t received support from the UK government, its founder and CEO, Geraint Barton suggests that the ever-growing EdTech community could be a source of new employment opportunities for those who have been made or face unemployment during the pandemic:
“We would love government support to employ more staff, whether that is for internships or people looking to retrain or make a move from other sectors. We have met so many people who have lost their job, because of Covid, who need new opportunities in different industries that are calling out for employment.”
Opportunities for the industry to continue thriving
When schools received government relief funding in 2020, they were told by the Department for Education that it had to go towards either Microsoft or Google software. A more efficient procurement process that celebrates indigenous, independent innovation is encouraged by the UK’s EdTech community.
Firefly’s Simon Hay comments:
“We would like to see more open communication channels between the government and our sector that is made up of small, homegrown EdTech companies who are driving innovation in this country while also giving real time solutions. Pushing for schools to use international exports is actively harmful to British business and the EdTech sector should continue to be a source of national pride and appropriately supported.”
Will Paterson, CEO at EdPlace adds:
“Lockdown has highlighted the disconnect between the EdTech industry and the DfE, with for example, initially recommending loosely screened resources, followed by a drive to create their own, despite strong, proven alternatives already existing in the market. In order to deliver educational support where it’s needed most, the DfE should invest in understanding what the industry has to offer, support its development through targeted funding and build a better procurement process. This will ensure all students get the targeted support they need and gives the EdTech industry the backing it needs to compete and win on the global stage.”
Looking to the future
With the outlook for education looking uncertain, preparing for the year ahead and beyond as best as possible is crucial.
“The National Tutor Programme is planned for at least four years. With the massive social impact from the two lockdowns, a huge impact on poorer children’s learning, it will take years to catch up, if we even can. We need significant and consistent government support for innovation to drive our businesses to be able to support as many people as we can,” concludes Tom Hooper of TSL.
While the growth and innovation of the UK EdTech sector has been supported by government initiatives that encourage investments in the industry, a call to consult the industry experts is hugely encouraged by our EdTech portfolio. As the education sector continues to navigate the best processes during the ongoing pandemic, the EdTech community offers lifeline solutions in addition to employment opportunities.
Across the pond in the USA, the growth of education SPACs* make a sharp increase in global mergers and acquisitions in the EdTech space likely, as well as opening up opportunities for UK businesses.
By 2025, the EdTech market is set to reach a total value of $341 billion and with the ongoing innovation borne out of the UK, the future looks bright for the UK to still carry the torch as global leaders in this market.

*What is a SPAC? Read more info here.

Living Streets launches new tool to help children stay active at home

Living Streets launches new tool to help children stay active at home

Immediate release

Living Streets, the UK charity which runs the biggest walk to school project in the country, has today (25 January 2021) launched the new WOW Activity Tracker to help children stay active while schools remain closed to most pupils.

The Tracker allows children to log their daily physical activity, whether that’s a walk with family or skipping at home.
Children who meet the level of activity set by their school will be given a monthly badge award.

The WOW Activity Tracker is based on the charity’s award-winning WOW Travel Tracker, which monitors how pupils travel to school, prompts behaviour change and rewards those who walk, cycle or scoot.

The WOW Activity Tracker is available to primary children at the 2,000 schools taking part in WOW, Living Streets’ year-round walk to school challenge.  Pupils who are still attending school can use the WOW Activity Tracker in the classroom.  

Sport England data released this month showed a 22% increase in the number of children going for a walk last summer. Living Streets has launched the WOW Activity Tracker to encourage children and families to keep walking.

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“With schools, leisure centres and swimming pools closed, walking is vital to helping keep children mentally and physically well during lockdown. 

“Walking is simple, cheap and free to all. Many of us have rediscovered the joys of walking throughout the pandemic. We hope the WOW Activity Tracker will inspire children to keep walking during lockdown – and beyond.”
Notes to editor:

Contact: Kathryn Shaw, Media and Communications Manager, Living Streets / / 07545 209865

·     WOW badges are made in the UK from recycled yoghurt pot material. See our recycling pledge;  

·     When running WOW, schools see an average 23 per cent increase in pupils walking to school and a 30 per cent drop in cars driving all the way to the school – reducing congestion outside the school gates, increasing safety and helping in the fight against air pollution;  

·     With WOW, pupils log their daily journeys to school each day on the WOW Travel Tracker tool. Those who walk to school at least once a week for a month earn a WOW badge, with 11 to collect across the academic year.

·     Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, has been running its walk to school campaign for over 20 years and currently runs WOW in schools across England, Scotland and Wales.

We are Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking.

We want to create a nation where walking is the natural choice for everyday, local journeys;  free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illnesses and social isolation. We want to achieve a better walking environment and to inspire people of all generations to enjoy the benefits the simple act of walking brings.

For over 90 years we’ve been a beacon for walking. In our early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossings and speed limits. Now our campaigns and local projects deliver real change to overcome barriers to walking and our groundbreaking initiatives such as the world’s biggest Walk to School campaign encourage millions of people to walk.


Between May – July 2020, 22% more children walked for leisure. Children’s activity levels down but many embrace new opportunities | Sport England

Maths and English lessons get the Joe Wicks treatment as free active lesson plans are given to teachers

25th January 2021: Every primary teacher in the country will have the chance to put a little more ‘Joe’ into their home school lessons with the release today of free active lesson plans from Teach Active.  


Designed to be taught via Zoom, Google Classroom or Teams these lesson plans provide teachers with ideas they can use to teach children maths or English while keeping them active and are a perfect anecdote to screen fatigue. 


Jon Smedley, a former teacher and founder of Teach Active, said: “Children are going from a Zoom lesson straight to watching YouTube or a stint on their PlayStation before logging on to their next lesson.  


“They are simply not getting enough physical activity, and this has an impact on their ability to learn. By adding activity into lessons, we can reverse that trend and give children more opportunities to have fun so they take more of their lessons onboard.” 


During the first lockdown only 1 in 5 children participated in the recommended daily hour of sport and activity. The free lesson plans aim to get children moving more by encouraging them to learn to add and subtract whole numbers while bouncing a tennis ball or learning to measure by running around the house or flat to find out the size of items of furniture.   


The plans are available for pupils from foundation stage through to year 6. They have been carefully selected so that they can be delivered to children studying at home or used with keyworker and vulnerable children attending school.  


The free remote learning lesson plans are available for all teachers and can be downloaded from