Safe to school case studies

Case studies showing how some schools have improved the safety around their schools during drop off and pick up times.

Following growing concern about the safety of primary school students travelling to and from school, the Boroondara Park Primary School (BPPS) Council wanted to develop a strategy to address students’ safety during school drop off and pick up times.

School councillors and interested parents formed the Safe to School Working Group. In 2009, the working group led the development of the BPPS Safe to School Strategy.

The purpose of the strategy is to provide a long-term framework to ensure a safe environment is established and maintained.

The strategy outlines a range of initiatives to address the identified issues. Some of the initiatives are outlined below.

  • Working with council to change signage in surrounding streets. This was achieved in Almond Street, where the signage was changed, making it a drop-off zone only. In addition, the speed limit was reduced to 40 km in Vicar St.
  • Recruiting supervisors from the local community to supervise crossings. Discussions with the local council resulted in council staff supervising crossings on most days.
  • Developing and distributing a parent brochure which addresses the safety issues of concern at the school, including a map of where to park and pictures of parking signs. This brochure has been sent home to every family in the school. A local real estate agent assisted the school by printing the brochures free of charge.
  • Delivering presentations at Information Nights and including information regularly in the school newsletter.
  • Developing a calendar of events which promote safe walking. The school participated in the Walk to School Challenge coordinated by the City of Boroondara. 40% of BPPS students walked to school on that day. Due to the success of this event, the school is investigating the possibility of holding a walk to school day event on a regular basis – such as once a week.
  • The school plans to incorporate traffic safety education into the curriculum, including implementing the Kids on the Move (External link) traffic safety education resource.
Visit improving safety around our schools for information and resources to help improve safety at school drop off and pick up times.

Children crossing road at school crossingThe City of Greater Geelong receives many requests to address school travel, parking and safety issues outside its 70 primary and 22 secondary schools.

With an estimated 70% of children driven to and from school each day, it was calculated that if the number of children walking or cycling could be increased to 60%, this would reduce the number of cars around schools during ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’ times by around 35-40 cars per school.

At times, parents may have practical reasons for driving  to and from school, but if all families who could adopt ‘active transport’ modes were to do so, the environment near and around schools would be safer for all those who choose to walk, ride, ‘scoot’ or skate to school.

Getting There Safely is an approach developed by the City of Greater Geelong, working together with local schools and key partners in several ways, via a formal traffic management procedure that includes the following.

  • Reviewing parking arrangements outside schools when requested by a school, to determine if current infrastructure is contributing to a safety issue.
  • Assessing any reported physical barriers to walking and cycling to school, such as availability of cycle paths, cycle storage and drinking fountains.
  • Providing school crossings and supervisors where criteria are met, plus a Local Laws service to monitor safety at or near crossings.
  • Monitoring speeds and liaising with Victoria Police about speeding in school speed zones.
  • Promoting existing resources such as the Kids on the Move (External link) traffic safety education kit to teachers.
  • Offering schools practical help developing school travel plans, such as maps to plot where students live, to highlight if families are within walking distance (up to 1.5km) and a school travel planning CD.
  • Offering road safety sessions and information for parents, to help keep children safe.
  • Providing resources and support to help parents and carers address fears and reasons behind driving, thus encouraging ‘active travel’ modes
  • Promoting and supporting ‘active travel’ annual events in schools.

This approach has achieved many positive outcomes for road safety and promotion of ‘active transport’.

Through the Geelong Road Safety Plan, this documented approach will become core business for The City of Greater Geelong and local schools well into the future.

Another positive outcome is the embedding of ‘active travel’ events into the annual calendar at many schools, such as Ride2School Day, Walk Safely To School Day (External link) (national event) and Walk To School Day (External link) (Victorian event). According to data collected from Ride2School (External link) , during 2009, those Geelong schools that recorded results “had at least an average 50% active travel rate - more than double the State average.

Visit improving safety around our schools for information and resources to help improve safety at school drop off and pick up times.

Maroondah City Council worked closely with Bayswater North Primary School to develop a TravelSmart School Travel Plan.

The Council monitored traffic volumes and speeds around the school as a first step. Following an audit of facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, Council carried out several infrastructure improvements. This included installation of one new school crossing outside the school and upgrading two existing crossings (which involved raising the crossings to footpath height). The footpaths around the school were improved and a shared pathway used frequently by students was sealed.

The school runs a Bike Ed program for grades 4, 5 and 6 as a way of equipping students with the knowledge and skills to safely ride to and from school. As a result the school managed to double the number of students cycling to school in 2008, which was recognised with a National Bicycling Achievement Award in 2008. The large school bike shed is also now at full capacity.

A ‘Golden Sneaker Award’ was also established where the class with the highest percentage of students travelling sustainably to school wins each month. The prize is exclusive use of a bag of sports equipment for the month.

According to data collected by Ride2School (External link) there has been an increase from 2007-2010 in the number of students at Bayswater North Primary School who choose to walk or ride to school.

Visit improving safety around our schools for information and resources to help improve safety at school drop off and pick up times.

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