07 Jan 2019

Pupil power paves way for improvements

Children at a Newport primary school are celebrating after lobbying successfully for path improvements near their school.

Pupils in Dahl Class at Newport CE Primary School undertook a led scooter ride (Scootability), as part of the Shift It project, which promotes sustainable travel. They were looking at how they travel to school in the local area and how it could be improved, so the whole school community can travel more actively and sustainably.

However, they hit a problem where the shared path they were using crosses Snowberry Road, Newport. There was a large van parked in front of the shared path where they needed to cross the road, making it quite unsafe. The path did not have dropped kerbs and is used on a daily basis by lots of children to walk, scoot and cycle to school, in fact, a recent survey undertaken at the school found that 85 per cent of year five and six pupils travel to and from the primary school actively on a regular basis.

Dahl Class, working with teacher Susan Thorburn and Nicky Metcalf, Shift It Schools Officer, wrote letters to Cabinet member, Ian Ward; Island MP, Bob Seely; Cycle Wight Chairman, Tim Thorne; and Isle of Wight Council explaining the problem and asking if double yellow lines and a flat section on the road could be installed there. They were very excited to get replies about the crossing and even more excited to see the council had improved the path.

Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “I could see from the photograph and the well written letter I received from the pupils the problem they faced when using the path and could well understand why people needed to be stopped from parking across their route to school.
 
“I asked our highways officers to examine the problem and am pleased to say that they listened to pupil power so that now the students can continue to travel sustainably and safely to school. Well done to all at Dahl class.”

Cycle Wight chaiman, Tim Thorne, said: “We have been campaigning about this bit of road now for several years, so the group are really proud and pleased that the pupils, as direct users of the crossing, were successful. We think it is important that groups like schools do raise issues like these so things improve in the future, to encourage cycling, scooting and walking safely.”

Kirsty Wallace, the head of school, said: “Dahl Class has contributed significantly to making their local area safer for all of our pupils and their families. We are incredibly proud of them!”

The school sustainable transport project is delivered on behalf of the council by Wight Cycle Training, under their ‘Shift It’ scheme. It is part of a wider programme of transport interventions being carried out by the Isle of Wight Council over the next two years, using £1.35 million of funding from the Department for Transport.

Commenting on the schools success, Nicky Metcalf, Shift It schools officer, said: “We’re proud that Newport CE Primary School pupils managed to get a key commuter route across the Newport area changed to make it more accessible and a safer route to school. It recognises the dedication of the pupils, staff and parents in travelling to school in make active sustainable travel a main part of school life.”

For further information about the ‘Shift It’ scheme, visit https://wightcycletraining.co.uk/shift-it/  

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Pictured from left to right is Lillian Jones, Bethea Wells, Beau Burton, Lewis Chambers, with school staff member Kim Clegg behind.
Pictured from left to right is Lillian Jones, Bethea Wells, Beau Burton, Lewis Chambers, with school staff member Kim Clegg behind.
Factfile
  • The children wrote to their local councillor, the Island MP, the council and CycleWight to raise awareness of the problem path.
 
Isle of Wight, UK