Road Safety Week clamps down on bad parkers outside schools

Date Released - 22/01/2019

A CLAMPDOWN on inconsiderate parking outside primary schools in Tameside is underway with a road safety week of action.

Tameside Council has teamed with Greater Manchester Police to organise a pilot study at three local schools featuring “Junior PCSOs” giving errant parkers warning tickets, school talks and an Arts Award logbook on road safety.

Parents parking across entrances, on footways, on ‘keep clear’ markings and obstructing crossing points is an increasing problem nationwide and a council survey of headteachers has established local concerns. Parking with engines running also increases pollution and health problems.

The week of action has been co-ordinated in response to raise awareness and change behaviour. It includes the “Junior PCSO” scheme where twelve pupils at three schools – Dowson Primary School, Marlborough Road, Hyde; St Anne’s Primary School, Clarendon Road, Audenshaw; and St Peter’s Primary School, Oxford Street, Ashton – are donning hi-viz vests and handing out information leaflets,  to warn motorists about the dangers of inconsiderate parking.  They’re supported by Tameside Council parking enforcement officers, GMP officers and school staff.

The aim is to make drivers think and act responsibly with enforcement as a last resort. It’s hoped that children handing out warnings, in the style of parking tickets, will shame persistent offenders into changing their behaviour.

Dowson Principal Kathryn Thornburn said the school was very pleased to be taking part, adding: “Our Health and Safety pupil leadership team will be out on the roads with members of staff and the parking wardens, supported by the PCSOs, at the beginning and end of the school day to encourage drivers to be mindful of their driving and parking around school in the best interests of our children and families.

“We have had some serious near misses for pedestrians recently and some very inconsiderate parking and as a school we are increasingly concerned. We’re hoping to notice some changes around school that will show how hard school leaders and the Health and Safety pupil leadership team are working with the police and the local authority to combat school parking issues.”

St Anne’s Acting Headteacher Stephanie Nally said: “Parking dangerously is an issue, with parents parking on the zigzags, double yellow lines and driving down our road to turn and drop the children off.  The road is narrow which makes it dangerous when cars are driving at speed. We’ve had parents involved in arguments over dangerous manoeuvring and collisions with one another.

“During our Road Safety Week we will be having focused assemblies each morning addressing the issues of road safety. Classes are all spending an afternoon creating their own campaign posters, with a prize for the most effective. “

Russell Scott Primary School in Denton initiated and funded “Junior PCSOs” last April and has since seen a significant decrease in parking problems.  They helped create the pilot scheme, which is expected to be just as successful and, once evidenced, the model will be rolled out to other schools across the borough.

Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “It’s great to see partnership working in action with everyone coming together to tackle this serious problem. The children are fully engaged and have taken responsibility in challenging motorists to be more considerate. This is a problem that we cannot allow to continue and we’re urging motorists to co-operate without us having to seek enforcement action.”

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