Open to all pupils at Newton-le-Willows Primary School in Sanderling Road, the competition – run by St Helens Borough Council’s Road Safety Team – required the children to design circular road signs with the message ‘Think! Park Safely!’ to prevent parking at the school entrance in a bid to improve road and pedestrian safety as well as reduce congestion around the school.
Ruby-Mai Ruane, now in her first year at Hope Academy, and Year 4 pupil Freya Thompson-Manison came out on top with their hedgehog and zebra crossing designs which have now been installed on a roundabout outside of the school.
Congratulating Ruby and Freya for their efforts, Seve Gomez-Aspron, Cabinet Member for Reset and Recovery and a local ward councillor for Newton-le-Willows, who funded the competition through CIF (councillor improvement fund) funding, said: “I and Councillor Bell were more than happy to support this project through our CIF after residents on the Birds Estate raised a number of concerns. The location chosen for this competition had been identified as an area of concern for irresponsible parking directly outside of school – so it was our pleasure to fund and support this project.
“It’s great to see our children and young people show such a passionate attitude to improving road safety in their local community – let’s hope parents take heed.”
Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Andy Bowden, added: “The importance of road safety can never be underestimated which is why the council – through its Road Safety Team – works closely with schools to get pupils talking about this issue from a young age.
“Well done to Ruby-Mai and Freya on their fantastic designs which should make drivers think twice when deciding where to park on the school run.”
St Helens Borough Council’s Road Safety Team works closely with schools throughout the academic year on a number of initiatives including the Junior Road Safety Officer programme which allows Year 5 and 6 pupils to develop ideas on how to make their school a safer place.
The team is also piloting the national School Streets programme at Thatto Heath Primary School and St Mary & St Thomas’ Primary School in Barton Close, St Helens Town Centre, with the view to roll out the scheme at other locations across the borough.
School Streets involves introducing a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) to prohibit traffic at drop-off and pick-up times during term time to allow extra space for people who are walking, cycling or scooting to school.
As well as promoting more active ways of travel to and from school, the initiative also clears school-related congestion, reduces air pollution, and makes the roads safer for everyone.