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Children become road safety champions

Thursday, August 25, 2016   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: children, transport, safety

Christchurch City Council media release: 24th August 2016

Children and Road Safety Leader from Halswell School.It’s a big job looking after little children, but when you’re a road safety leader you take it in your stride.

Halswell School is one of two local schools taking part in a pilot programme designed to help children become ambassadors for road safety.

Christchurch City Council launched the School Road Safety Leaders programme this year with the aim of making it safer for children getting to and from school.

Simran Bath and Molly Perkins, both aged 13, are Road Safety Leaders at Halswell School and as part of their role they have come up with a new system where they and other senior students will act as buddies and escort younger children to their classrooms from a drop off zone. They will be on the job from 8.25am until 9am.

This means parents can drop their children in the zone in front of the school office and keep driving to clear the area, rather than walking their children inside and causing parking problems.

Molly says being a leader has made her think more about ways to improve road safety around the school. She and Simran have spoken at assemblies and they would really like traffic to slow down around the school, which is located on busy Halswell Road.

Joy Kingsbury, Christchurch City Council Community Travel Advisor, came up with the School Road Safety Leaders idea which is modelled on a similar programme in Britain, where they have junior road safety officers. She wants children who are trained in road patrol to become the champions of road safety in their school.

“They might make a road safety video and put it on the school website, or hold a special assembly. It’s to give them a bit more mana and make them realise how important their school patrol role is. Without them, the kids couldn’t get across the road safely. It’s a matter of adding value to what they already do.”

The School Road Safety Leaders scheme – which is the first of its kind in New Zealand - is also being trialled at Russley School, and Ms Kingsbury hopes it will eventually be extended to all primary schools around Christchurch. She is keen to hear from schools who would like to join the pilot from term 1 next year.

The scheme is partly funded by NZ Transport Agency and from Council’s Travel Planning Budget and provides an information pack to the children involved, including a popular badge. A plan for the future is for combined workshops to be held for Road Safety Leaders from around Christchurch.

Mrs Kingsbury said early feedback from teachers involved in the pilot had been positive.

Christchurch City Council has a long history of projects designed to improve safety for school children. The 40 km/h school speed zones - electronic signage outside schools which activates at school arrival and departure times – were an innovation that began in Christchurch in 2000. Currently there are 36 school speed zones installed outside 43 schools (in some situations more than one school is within a school speed zone). Three new zones are installed each year.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch