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North Yorkshire puts road safety into schools curriculum

Road Safety

4:48pm 23rd June 2011

North Yorkshire County Council has become one of the first local authorities nationally to introduce a road safety curriculum into its secondary schools after successfully launching road safety lessons in primary schools.

The county council, which is the highways authority for England’s largest county, overseeing a network of rural roads linking sparsely populated areas, believes that road safety education is a priority issue.

The recently published government Strategic Framework for Road Safety states that road user education should be part of every child’s education. It exhorts local authorities and schools to develop lessons and programmes that will give pupils the skills and knowledge.

North Yorkshire’s secondary schools have received the road safety pack this term to incorporate learning programmes, lesson plans and projects into next year’s timetable.  The initiative is already underway in the county’s primary schools and the county has appointed a road safety curriculum adviser as part of a collaboration between the county’s Children and Young People’s Service and Highways.  The adviser will provide expertise and information for teachers when planning lessons and projects across the age and ability range.

Children and young people in North Yorkshire will now learn road safety awareness from the age of three.  This begins with the pre-school Children’s Traffic Club and a series of books and activities sent to children’s homes; pedestrian training for 7-8 year olds; Bikeability which is the national standards cycle training at 10-11 years, including Highway code lessons.  In addition both primary and secondary schools will now link road safety issues into the curriculum.

In science for example primary school pupils will look at how forces and seatbelts work; at secondary level they will look at inertia and material technology.  In geography primary children will look at planning a safe route for walking or cycling and in maths at secondary level they will look at using real data on speed or the costs of running a moped or car.  In English primary pupils might write poetry or stories about feeling unsafe as a passenger while in secondary school drama workshops and discussion groups will enable teenagers to analyse and start to understand how crashes happen, the errors that cause them and how peer groups influence each other’s behaviour and risk taking.

County Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools said:

“Road safety education must be integral to the daily lives of our young people and we have to help them to look after themselves in the environment in which they live, learn and travel. The county council’s road safety teams have always gone into schools, but they cannot be in each school all of the time. Therefore, by embedding road safety into the curriculum we believe this makes the best use of resources.”

County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said:

“It would be difficult to over-estimate how important we think it is for our children and young people to learn how to use our roads safely.  Young people are our most valuable resource and they are our future.  That is why we have taken this major step of developing road safety resources for every key stage of education.”

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