County school pioneers road safety initiative
11 Jul 2019
A Cramlington school has become the first in the county to trial a new scheme which closes surrounding roads to traffic at the start and end of the school day.
Hareside Primary School in Whitelea Glade is pioneering the government-led initiative over two days, where three roads around the school are shut to motor vehicles between 8am and 9am and 2.15pm and 3.15pm.
The scheme is a partnership between the school, the County Council and Sustrans - and gives children the chance to enjoy a safer, car-free space as they walk to and from school.
Pupils and their parents have been encouraged to travel to school by foot, bike, scooter or public transport.
For those parents or carers who do need to use a car, special ‘Park and Stride’ locations were designated just five minutes’ walk away from the school.
Residents living in the surrounding closed streets which were closed to traffic were all contacted either in person or by letter and have been widely supportive of the scheme. Emergency access was still possible.
County Councillor Wayne Daley, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This is a great initiative as we all know the benefits of fresh air and exercise and the key role it plays in every child’s development.
“This trial will make the approach to school safer, healthier and less congested for everyone, while making sure residents, businesses, pedestrians and cyclists can still use the road.”
Local ward councillor Mark Swinburn said: “The streets around our schools can get very busy at peak times, which brings inherent dangers, health issues and sometimes frustration for drivers and residents.
“I’m proud that one of my local schools is trialling this pioneering scheme and will be interested in hearing feedback from pupils and parents about how they found the experience.”
Hareside Primary School Headteacher Jacqueline Mowat said: "We are working hard to help our children and families live healthy and active lives.
“It is really important to us that we encourage children to walk to school and play safely in their own community. We have also been working with local residents to address their concerns about parking and access for emergency vehicles at pick up and drop off times.
“This initiative allows children and families an opportunity to walk safely to and from school and encourage the school and community to work closely together. We will be using pupil voice, parent and resident feedback to assess its success."