Agenda item

Select Committee Review into the Council's Road Safety Initiatives and Activities around the Borough's Schools - Witness Sessions 2


The Chairman introduced the item and welcomed a number of witnesses to the meeting with regard to the Committee’s major scrutiny review into road safety initiatives and activities around the Borough’s schools. It was noted that this session would focus on gathering evidence from external stakeholders such as school representatives, travel leads and pupils.


The Chairman welcomed the witnesses to the meeting and thanked them for attending. Witnesses for this session included:


·         Lisa Mayo - Road Safety and School Travel Manager

·         Danielle Stanley-Watts - School Travel and Road Safety (STaRS) Officer

·         Rayna Ramtohul-Butler – Representative from Grange Park Junior School (School Travel Plan Lead)

·         Leo Harrington - Representative from St Helen’s College (School Travel Plan Lead)

·         Sharon Cargill - Representative from St Helen’s College

·         Charlee Green – Junior Travel Ambassador, St Helen’s College

·         Raiden Bhabara – Junior Travel Ambassador, St Helen’s College


The two Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs) from St Helen’s College addressed the Committee delivering a presentation and summary of their work on the JTA programme. They noted how proactive the programme was and informed the Committee of a number of different projects and activities the JTAs had engaged in, including:


·         The JTAs submitted a Dragon’s Den style pitch to apply for funding for their projects.

·         They ran a comic strip competition for students of St Helen’s College years 2 – 6 with prizes for the winners and entrants including a road safety box with high visibility clothing and cycle helmets.

·         The St Helens College JTAs had also won an award for ‘top road safety influencers’, the award was presented at an evening event held at the Kennington Oval.

·         They had written to Blue Peter to propose the introduction of a new road safety Blue Peter badge to raise awareness for road safety within the younger community. The JTAs had created some eye-catching designs to go with the letter, unfortunately they were unsuccessful, however in their response, Blue Peter were supportive of the children’s efforts.

·         They noted that the Hillingdon School Travel and Road Safety (STaRS) Team had run sessions with the school promoting road safety and various projects that the pupils could take part in.

·         Other projects run by the JTAs at their school included their weekly meetings, a walk to school loyalty card scheme, Be Bright Be Seen days, having police officers attend the school to teach pupils about speed awareness, Parents Parking Pledges and a JTA suggestion box.


The Committee commended the JTAs and the staff supporting them on the work they were doing for the safety of pupils, staff, parents and residents around their school, Members commented that it was important to have a good level of enthusiasm and engagement at both student and staff levels. It was noted that there were six JTA positions at St Helen’s College, the students were asked to apply for the positions in the style of a job application. It was noted that there were over 20 applications for the JTA positions. It also was noted that the JTA role would soon be rebranded by Transport for London to Travel for Life Explorers (TfL Explorers). Officers noted that they would look into contacting other London Boroughs to see if it would be possible to adopt a cross London approach to taking forward the JTAs idea of a bespoke road safety Blue Peter badge.


In terms of suggestions that the witnesses had for actions that could improve the levels of road safety around their schools, it was highlighted that encouraging parents who drive to school to use the correct locations for drop-off/pick-up, and to adopt usage of the Park and Stride maps which detailed the locations at which parents could drop-off/pick-up whilst causing the least disruption to the school and highways in the immediate vicinity of the school. A further prominent issue that was primarily caused by parents of pupils at the schools was inconsiderate parking and blocking of residents driveways during pick-up and drop-off, it was a huge issue that caused considerable amounts of disorder at the school gates on a regular basis. The JTAs had attempted to combat this by installing “Think before you park” signs at the school gates.


The Committee highlighted that engagement with schools was paramount and discussed the difficulties of engaging with schools who were less willing to reach out and access the positive projects that the Council offered. Officers noted that every school willing to engage would receive support from the STaRS Team. The school representatives present highlighted that programmes such as the JTAs were reliant on school leaderships willingness to put in the additional work required to facilitate them, this enthusiasm from school staff was seen as the crux of making programmes such as the JTAs viable.


School representatives highlighted that a key thing the Council could do to assist schools in cooperating with parents and residents on road safety matters was to give schools effective and comprehensive advice as to what they could do as schools to intervene, communicate and advise parents and residents when instances of inconsiderate parking were taking place.


It was highlighted that parking restrictions had been implemented outside of a number of schools which were deemed incredibly useful and effective by school staff in terms of alleviating pressures; however, the levels of enforcement varied and once parents were aware that they may not receive any enforcement action, they were more wiling to disregard the restrictions and park illegally.

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