What could cause accidents involving pupils near schools?
There are some factors beyond our control such as weather conditions, but apart from these the main problems are likely to be:
- Congestion – parking at junctions or on footways
- Cars turning and reversing after dropping off children
- Parents who are running late
This plan tackles some of these issues in various ways.
1. Use of the School Bus
A free place on the school bus is available to all P1-P7 pupils who live more than two miles from the school and within the catchment area. Where there are vacant seats on a bus, these may be made available to pupils who are not normally entitled to free transport on a “grace and favour” basis (for example, pupils who live inside the 2 mile radius). Many parents do not make use of the free bus service.
We strongly encourage all parents who are able to make use of the bus to do so for the following reasons:
- The buses take pupils right into the playground where there are no other moving vehicles to present a hazard.
- Bus travel is statistically safer than car travel.
- Less cars means less congestion and a reduced chance of an accident.
- One bus is more efficient than many cars and is therefore a greener option.
- Pupils arriving by bus now have little or no waiting time before going in to school.
- If there is a big take-up of bus places, the Council will provide more buses, ensuring quicker more efficient routes.
2. Walk, Cycle or Scoot to School
Walking to school is not suitable for pupils who live outside of Gifford; however all pupils who live in the village should be able to walk to school. Some parents who live in the village take their children to school by car. We recommend that all pupils in the village walk or cycle to school as:
- This reduces the vehicles on the road.
- It reduces congestion near the school entrances.
- Pupils get some exercise.
However, please remember that walking to school will still require a measure of road safety ability and experience. We advise children and parents to walk the routes together until they are both happy and confident that the children can accomplish it themselves. It is also important that children continue to have to cross roads at appropriate locations. This will give them greater road safety experiences and benefit their growing independence in the long term. Also remember that those younger than P5, and indeed some P5 children, may not yet be ready or confident to take to the streets alone.
3. Park and Stride
If we haven’t convinced you, and you still feel that you need to take your children to school by car, consider the Park and Stride option. Some parents who drive their children to school take them as close to the school as possible. Most of the time this is unnecessary. Have you considered parking away from the school? You could either let your children walk from that point or, if you have younger children, you could then accompany them to the nearest convenient school entrance. We recommend parking under the trees of The Avenue, outside the Tweeddale Arms, in the village square or on the Main Street. The advantages are:
- A reduction in the number of cars near the school entrance.
- Pupils are taught road safety skills by parents and develop competence with daily practice.
- Pupils (and parents!) get some exercise at the start of the day.
- Less travel by car is greener.
- If you have older children who can walk from the parking place themselves, you can get away more quickly.
4. Use the drop-off point
We do not want parents to use Walden Terrace or Park Road as a place for parking, dropping off children or as a vehicular route to school. The reasons for this are:
- Walden Terrace is too congested at the start and end of the school day to leave a clear passage for emergency vehicles.
- The school buses need access up Walden Terrace. If the road is congested, it is difficult for the buses to have a clear route up Walden Terrace. Avoiding Walden Terrace will also save time for drivers.
- The building of the new houses has increased the traffic flow on Walden Terrace; it is now much busier, particularly in the morning.
- Most cars entering Walden Terrace to drop off children need to reverse before leaving.
- The Police, Council and ourselves are concerned about the potential for accidents in this road.
Occasionally parents have driven right up to the school gate, parking on the yellow zig-zags. As well as being dangerous, parking or stopping on these lines a driving offence.
All parents who wish to drop off pupils near the school should drive up the High Street and stop by the triangle of grass just before the corner. This is the entrance to the vennel that leads to Park Road and on to the steps to the school’s west entrance. After dropping off, cars should continue round the green, returning along the south side.