Pupils get on their bike to keep trim

CHILDHOOD obesity is never far from the spotlight, but a Kesgrave school is proving top of the class when it comes to promoting good health.At the start of term, Kesgrave High School had 920 pupils cycling to and from its building - 55per cent of the school population.

CHILDHOOD obesity is never far from the spotlight, but a Kesgrave school is proving top of the class when it comes to promoting good health.

At the start of term, Kesgrave High School had 920 pupils cycling to and from its building - 55per cent of the school population.

While many pupils across the county are forced to rely on buses and cars, Kesgrave, it seems, has become a prime example of healthy living, thanks to numerous cycle paths and a legacy that dates back more than 60 years.

Kesgrave High School has encouraged its pupils to cycle in ever since the Second World War, when children were provided with their own bikes.

And years later, school governors and landowners stipulated that any new building work in the area had to include cycling provision.

The approach has paid off. For the past 12 years, the school has seen more pupils cycling than ever before, a situation helped by the fact that sixth formers and parents are not allowed to drive on school premises.

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Brian Hawkins, deputy headteacher, said: “I think children perform and look better at school if they have had vigorous exercise before them come to school in the morning,” he said.

“It's been established since the Second World War but in the last 12 years cycling has been made easier.

“This year we had somewhere between 920 and 940 cyclists, which is the biggest number ever.

“A lot of primary schools now have got significant cycling numbers as many parents say you have to cycle when you get to the high school so they might as well do so at primary school.”

Mr Hawkins added that obesity was not something the school alone could address.

“It does it through its campaigns and quite a vigorous physical education programme in school. As to educating in obesity, that has to be done at home.”

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