Children at Grosvenor Park Academy urge road users to stop, look and listen

Grosvenor Park Academy pupils have driven home the message about road safety amid concerns over increasing traffic speed around Chester.

Children from Years 3 and 4 at the Union Street school took part in a walk in the surrounding city centre streets accompanied by teachers, parents and a team of PCSOs and Community Safety Wardens, to learn how to spot danger.

They also plan to make banners encouraging users of a two-lane system outside their school to watch their speed.

“We have become increasingly concerned about traffic speed on the roads around school, particularly since the one-way system was introduced a few months ago,” explained teacher Javan Sparks.

 “We’ve talked about road safety in class, but children learn much better if they can put it into practice and see situations with their own eyes. So we took a mile walk around Chester to teach the children how to be safe on the roads, along with the support of the PCSOs from the area. It was a very worthwhile exercise.”

The event linked in with the national ‘Brake Walk’ event,  in which thousands of schoolchildren aged four–11 took part in short, supervised walks to share important road safety messages across the country.

The event is organised by road safety charity Brake which says every day six children are killed or seriously hurt on roads in Britain.

Mr Sparks added: “This year, the theme is focused on encouraging drivers to be aware and considerate of pedestrians, especially regarding their speed.

“As a school, we are also going to make banners to encourage drivers to drive safely and to keep to the speed limit, especially around the school.”

PCSO James Hannath said: “A good knowledge of road safety is vital for children wherever they live, but especially in a city. There are plenty of distractions, busy roads, a lot of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings – that’s why our visits to  schools are so important so we can pass on the knowledge and advice that should help them to navigate their environment carefully and safely.”

Here’s some handy tips to pass on:-

·       Stay Alert! It is so important, when crossing roads anywhere that children stay alert and aware of their surroundings. Make sure that they recognise the importance of focussing solely on crossing the road instead of talking to friends.

·       Use safe crossings! This is always an important tip, pedestrian crossings are aplenty in City Centres and it is extremely important to utilise them appropriately.

·       Don’t use technology when crossing the roads….! This is something that is on the increase due to many children having a number of digital items in their possession. Texting on mobile phones or indeed listening to headphones can all cause the child to become distracted and not be fully aware of any oncoming traffic.

·       Don’t rely on drivers! As mentioned above, City Centres can be quite difficult layouts, with many drivers changing lanes frequently and last minute, along with potentially looking for signs to see where they are going. This can mean drivers can be quite distracted when navigating built up areas, it is important children recognise this and are hyper alert when looking to cross a road.

·       Road safety isn’t just about crossing roads, it is also using footpaths appropriately. Footpaths can sometimes be narrow in City Centres and so it is important that children stay fully on them and don’t walk on the side of the road when walking to locations.

·       Be Visible. If walking around the City, particularly in the evening, high visibility clothing is preferable.

·       Stop Look, Listen and Think! Yes this old chestnut is still extremely important, using all of your senses when crossing a road means accidents are less likely to occur and children can stay safer on the roads in the City Centre.

·       Road safety in City Centres isn’t just about educating children – it is also about educating drivers. When driving around City Centres makes sure you take your time, if you do take a wrong turn or if you are in a wrong lane then don’t panic – Take your time. Five minutes on your journey is preferable to having an accident.

·       When driving by schools be extremely cautious, children can be unpredictable and can appear very quickly. Also be aware when parking by schools that you must adhere to the restrictions, they are there to keep the children safe and ensure they can clearly see the roads when crossing.

PCSO Hannath added: “Drivers also have a big part to play in road safety, especially near schools. That’s why we are often present at school start and finish times to advise parents on parking safely and ensuring the children are safe in crossing roads. We also carry out speed enforcement in school areas to deter drivers speeding on our roads. Our message to motorists is to be alert when you’re driving near a school and be extra careful with speed and driving manner so that we can all do our bit to keep children safe on our roads.”

For more information about Grosvenor Park Academy email admin@grosvenorparkkacademy.org.uk or tel: 01244 569560.