Sydney Catholic Schools’ Road Safety Education Officer, Andrew Sortwell, invites parents to role model good pedestrian behaviour on Walk Safely to School Day 2021 – and every day.

Calling all primary school parents! Consider lacing up your sneakers and walking your child to school on Friday 14 May, National Walk Safely to School Day.

As Sydney Catholic Schools’ Road Safety Education Officer, Andrew Sortwell, says: “It’s a good chance for parents to role model good behaviour as a pedestrian, i.e. teach by example where to cross the road, and how to cross the road safely.”

“If children are 10 years or younger they should be holding an adult’s hand” – Andrew Sortwell

Sydney Catholic Schools Road Safety Education Officer, Andrew Sortwell, walking with his children.

Andrew Sortwell walking with his children. Photo: Kitty Beale

National Walk Safely to School Day is a community initiative that aims to raise awareness of the health, road safety, transport and environmental benefits that regular walking – especially to and from school – can provide for the long term wellbeing of our children.

Apart from the physical benefits, regular walking also has a positive impact on their mental health and academic performance.

Active kids are smarter kids

Children aged 5-12 years old are recommended to do 150 minutes of planned physical activity every week.

“Active transport options, such as walking or cycling to and from school, are the perfect complement to school Personal development, health and physical education (PDHPE) programs that promote motor performance skills proficiency and adequate fitness,” Mr Sortwell said.

He said staying active helps students gain confidence in their ability to successfully engage in games and physical activities, and reduces their susceptibility to lifestyle diseases, such as obesity.

“Road safety education is about promoting what we need to do” – Andrew Sortwell

“National Walk Safely to School Day is a great time for parents to observe their child’s behavior in and around traffic, and to together explore the safest route to school,” Mr Sortwell said.

“It is also an opportunity for parents to support their child’s skills as a pedestrian as they’re transitioning from Year 6 to 7.”


Your child will learn about pedestrian safety by watching you, so use safe behaviour around cars, roads, footpaths and car parks.

Road safety tips:

  • Collect your child from the school gate and always use pedestrian crossings where possible – never call your child across the road
  • Always ensure your child enters and exits the car using the rear passenger door (safety door) on the footpath side
  • When you come to a driveway, always look for any cars entering or reversing into the driveway

Tips to get kids walking to school:

  • Walk some or if you can, walk all the way to school
  • Get off the bus, train, or tram a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way
  • Leave the car at least 1km away from school and walk the rest of the way
  • Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier to fit in a walk to school
  • If you can’t walk in the morning, walk home after school