AN initiative to encourage children to walk to school has been set up at a Harlow primary school.

The Walking Bus is an interactive way for children to travel as a group, under the supervision of a driver and bus conductor.

Children from Potter Street Primary School climbed aboard the bus for the first time last week.

The bus covers a specially devised route, stopping at pick-up points to collect more passengers.

Head teacher Nila Jasal said: "It's really fantastic that such an initiative has been set up at the school. The aim of the Walking Bus is to get the children to school in the safest way possible. Hopefully traffic congestion in front of the school in the morning will also be cut down."

The scheme, the first of its kind in the town, also has a number of benefits for the children involved. As well as being environmentally friendly it gives children the chance to develop their road safety skills.

Walking with friends helps develop social skills and all the exercise is an added bonus. Research has also shown that children who walk to school are more alert when they reach the classroom.