New programme to put walking at the heart of Scottish secondary schools

We’re thrilled to be bringing together academic knowledge with practical skills to co-produce a programme to help get Scottish secondary school pupils more active.

Walking at school

Working together with the Universities of Stirling, Edinburgh and the Highlands and Islands, we have secured funding from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and Active Scotland to design and develop a walking programme for young people, by young people in Scotland.

The aim of the programme is to improve the health and wellbeing of young people by creating a culture of walking both in and around the school day. This programme will see young people participating in Step Count Challenges and leading walks for their peers while increasing awareness of the benefits of walking.

In 2022, the proportion of 13 – 15-year-olds meeting the physical activity recommendations was 65% for boys and 43% for girls. Our programme will be co-designed with young people and aims to empower pupils to be more active and healthier, whilst having confidence and enjoyment in the way they move and travel in and around school life.

Carl Greenwood, Senior Development Officer at Paths for All commented:

We’re passionate about making Scotland a walking nation and supporting young people to walk more every day is integral to the success of this.

We’re really excited to be working with the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, fantastic colleagues from Scottish universities, but more crucially with young people to co-design a programme that can get to the heart of embedding everyday walking into school life.

The KTP partnership consists of The Knowledge Transfer Partnership, The University of Stirling, The University of Edinburgh, The University of the Highlands and Islands and Paths for All.

The partnership aims to bring new skills and the latest academic thinking into practice to help deliver an innovative project for schools. University of Stirling is recruiting an ‘associate’ to work on the project, who will be embedded within Paths for All and will aim to support the strategic development of the programme over 27 months, whilst developing new skills and gaining valuable experience of working within the third sector.

Simone Tomaz, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Stirling said: “We are delighted to explore the best way to bring academic research and high school programme delivery together. By working alongside young people, we believe we have the best chance of understanding young people’s access to and motivation for using walking to improve their health. We are also excited to be working with a number of partners and organisations to deliver this programme.”

Applications are open for the KTP Associate position until 11 March, to find out more about the role, and to apply, click here.

Commenting on the collaboration, Trish Gorely, Professor at The University of the Highlands and Islands added: “This is such an exciting project, with a great team of people coming together to work with young people to encourage walking within everyday life. The potential for impact on social, mental and physical wellbeing of young people is very real and will hopefully carry through into their adult lives.”

The Associate will gain valuable support from academics assisting the programme including Dr Sam Fawkner, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) and Interim Head of School, Moray House School of Education and Sport, University of Edinburgh, who said: “We are delighted to bring Moray House and our Physical Activity for Health Research Centre’s expertise in walking promotion to this exciting new project that will directly impact health and wellbeing for young people in Scotland.”

To keep up to date with the latest developments on our walking programme for secondary schools, sign up to our enews.