Friday 17 March 2023
Pupils at St Martin's Primary School were so concerned about safety risks during drop-off and pick-up times, as a result of narrow roads and a lack of pavements in the surrounding area, that they asked their Headteacher to support them to instigate a positive change.
Headteacher Clare Giles approached Traffic and Highway Services to see what could be done to support the pupils with their concerns, and Guernsey's first 'School Street' initiative has been created in response.
School Street schemes are commonly used in other parts of the world and involve a road outside a school having a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at drop-off and pick-up times. The St Martin's School Street will launch on Wednesday 29th March, with Route Des Coutures closed to traffic (except for cyclists and those vehicles accessing properties) on weekdays from:
The scheme will be reviewed after a week, which aligns with the break for Easter holidays, and extended should it prove successful.
Clare Giles, St Martin's Primary School Headteacher, said:
'We are a UNICEF gold Rights Respecting School, which is something we're very proud of, and part of what helped us achieve a gold award was ensuring our pupils have a voice and that voice influences decisions about how the school is run. This is also a key part of Our Education Strategy.
'Through our "Rights Squad", pupils expressed significant concern about the risks they had encountered during pick-up and drop-off outside the school and a determination to do something to bring about positive change. I committed to supporting them following that feedback and I'm grateful for the help of Traffic and Highway Services in developing the St Martin's School Street scheme.
'Our school has 550 pupils, which makes us the largest primary school in the island, with more pupils than two secondary schools also, which means we have approximately 1,000 people travelling to and from school every day at drop-off and pick-up. That is a lot of people on the roads around school, with Route Des Coutures narrow and without many safe spaces for pedestrians.
'We had an incident last term involving a cyclist and vehicle and pupils routinely report near misses. I am very proud of our young people for not only raising this issue with maturity and conviction, but also being heavily involved in the creation of what we hope will be a solution.'
Paul James, Traffic and Highway Services Road Safety Officer, said:
'Traffic and Highway Services has been working with St Martin's School for several years to help them make their school journeys safer, healthier and better for the environment. When the pupils came to us asking for assistance with their latest project, we were happy to help. A School Street will significantly improve the safety for the children and their carers as they make the final part of their journey into school and home again, with minimal disruption to the general community.'
More information about School Streets schemes is available by visiting www.schoolstreets.org.uk