Auckland Transport

The walking school bus merit schemeWSB merit scheme

The merit scheme aims to recognise and profile the road safety, health and social skills that children develop as a result of being part of the Walking School Bus (WSB) programme.  

As children walk to school they receive a stamp and/or click on a ticket. When tickets are completed, children receive a corresponding merit key tag. These key tags are then clipped onto their WSB carabiner. In addition to walking key tags there are special skill key tags that can also be earned.

Walking School Bus Key Tags

Benefits of the merit scheme

  • Children work towards achieving each merit key tag, giving longevity to their involvement on the Walking School Bus.   
  • There will be Leadership and Road Safety merit key tags to keep older children engaged.  
  • There is a Winter Walker merit key tag to encourage children to keep walking though the colder, wetter months.
  • Merit key tags can be presented at school assembly which provides promotional opportunity for your Walking School Buses. 
  • The merit key tags make up a set of collectables that children can work towards attaining rather than constantly requiring one-off resources.

The merit scheme is to recognise and profile the road safety, health and social skills that children develop from being involved with the WSB programme as well as to encourage children to stay on the WSB for longer, modelling positive walking behaviour to others.

Register for the merit scheme

Simply complete the online order form below and once you have registered your school will be sent a starter pack within the month.

Register for the Walking School Bus Merit Scheme

The starter park will include the following:

  • An information brochure.
  • WSB tickets.
  • Spare WSB bag tags on carabiners (for children who may not have one yet).
  • Sets of 6 of the merit key tags.
  • A recording sheet for the coordinator.
  • Criteria cards for the children so that they know how to achieve each merit key tag.

You may wish to have a launch of the Merit Scheme at school assembly or at a WSB milo and muffin morning, where you explain the scheme to the WSB children and issue them with their criteria cards and new WSB tickets.

How the merit scheme works

A starter pack is sent to each Walking School Bus which includes:

  1. WSB tickets - these will need to be kept by each Parent Coordinator as evidence of the child's achievement.
  2. Additional WSB bag tags on carabiners for children who may not already have one.
  3. Initial sets of 6 different merit key tags (which can attach to the WSB carabiners and onto school bags). Merit key tags will be given to a child once the child has achieved the merit criteria. For example, a child has walked 50 times on the WSB, so they receive the first merit '50 walks'. Each merit level has a corresponding key tag.
  4. A sample recording sheet to keep track of each child's achievements and the merit key tags they have been issued with.
  5. A criteria card for the children so they know how to achieve each merit key tag. Children can also keep a record their merit key tags on this criteria card (PDF 368KB).

The Merit Scheme uses the WSB tickets to record 25 walks at a time. Use your recording sheet to mark off as each child completes another ticket. In this way you can keep track of how many walks they have completed toward each milestone key tag and issue the tags when each is earned.

It is recommended that merit key tags are awarded at school assembly. By doing this the school is supporting your WSB and it will showcase the benefits of the WSB to new students.

Your Community Transport Coordinator will be available to assist with any questions that you may have.

Ordering additional key tags and caribiners

If you need replacement key tags, extras for new children, or another caribiner for someone who has a full one, you can order these in small packs of 5 key tags by filling in the online order form.

Order new key tags or caribiners

Distribution will occur at the end of each month for orders placed during that month.

Existing walking school buses who are new to the merit scheme

All children must start counting walks on new tickets from the date you introduce the scheme at your school.

Ideas to earn the leadership merit key tag

Leadership tasks could include:

  • Buddying new children on the WSB.
  • Clicking and marking tickets.
  • Walking at the front and checking for hazards.
  • Being a ‘Conductor’ at the rear of the bus to keep everyone in a group
  • Marking off the Merit Scheme recording sheet when children complete tickets
  • Organising milo and muffin mornings for the WSB

Walking School Bus