Durham Council’s road safety team has organised two recent initiatives to help improve road safety for school children in the county.
In December 2018, schools across the county took part in a competition to address the problem of school gate parking and deter drivers from parking illegally, inconsiderately or dangerously.
Pupils were tasked with designing a school gate sign and the winner, Jessica Short, a Year 6 pupil from Pittington Primary School, has since seen her artwork printed and displayed outside her school.
Cllr Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “We hear regularly from concerned parents, teachers and local residents about the problems that irresponsible school gate parking can cause so we’re hoping these creative signs will make people think twice.
“Jessica’s design is encouraging people to park further from the school and walk the short distance, making it safer.”
Meanwhile, a performance poet has been visiting schools, inspiring pupils to create and perform their own road-safety-themed poems.
Bernard Young delivered the poetry sessions as part of the ‘Slow to 20 for Safer Streets’ project, entertaining pupils with performances of his interactive poems, such as ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Lady Lollipop’.
Cllr Brian Stephens said: “The road safety poetry workshops are part of a programme of enhanced road safety training which we are delivering to schools.
“We commissioned Bernard as we knew he would capture the pupils’ imaginations and really make them think about how to stay safe on the roads.
“The sessions are a fantastic, fun way to teach young people what is actually a very serious message, helping them to gain the knowledge and skills they need to become safer pedestrians and cyclists.”