Release date: 6 September 2023
Three experimental schemes started this week to give families greater confidence to leave the car at home and choose active/sustainable travel options for the school run.
The three School Street Trial Schemes prohibit motor vehicles entering the road directly at the school gates at drop-off and pick-up times, with exceptions for residents’ vehicles, businesses, and some other exemptions for essential access.
The schools-led initiatives, being delivered in partnership with West Sussex County Council, are at Arundel Church of England Primary, Swiss Gardens Primary, Shoreham, and Thomas A Becket Junior, Worthing. All three headteachers involved have voiced their support.
Andrew Simpson, Headteacher at Arundel Church of England Primary School, said: "The School Street Trial Scheme offers a range of benefits for schools, the local community and driving behaviour. By prioritising safety, community well-being, and sustainable transportation, the scheme showcases a holistic approach to improving the living environment and promoting positive societal change.
“It has already helped us teach pupils about road safety, active transportation, and environmental conservation, fostering a sense of responsibility and awareness from a young age, which then impacts their wider families."
Also highlighting the safety aspect, Lawrence Caughlin, Headteacher at Swiss Gardens Primary School, Shoreham, said: “We at Swiss Gardens regard the School Streets initiative as an important step forward to support safe travel to school for all our children. We are firmly behind the project, as the safety of children at our school is paramount and hope it leads to sustained and long-lasting improvements.”
In Worthing, Becky Linford, Headteacher at Thomas A Becket Junior, said her school was looking forward to working together with the County Council and the community on the School Streets scheme.
She added: “The scheme will support us in keeping our children safe by reducing traffic on local roads and increasing a healthier, safer and pleasant environment for pupils on their journey to school.”
More details about each scheme, including exemptions and frequently asked questions, are available at: https://yourvoice.westsussex.gov.uk/school-streets but the outline details are:
- Arundel Primary School, Jarvis Road, Arundel – with motor vehicles prohibited between 8am to 9am and 3pm to 4pm
- Swiss Gardens Primary School, Swiss Gardens, Shoreham – motor vehicles prohibited between 8am to 9am and 2.30pm to 3.30pm. NB: buses are among permitted vehicles in this instance.
- Thomas A Becket Junior School, Glebeside Avenue, Worthing – motor vehicles prohibited between 8am to 9am and 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Cllr Joy Dennis, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “These experimental, schools-led initiatives aim to improve safety for vulnerable road users and encourage families to leave the car at home and choose active and sustainable travel options.
“My thanks go to those people who have already provided feedback via the online survey and I would encourage others to please tell us what they think of the schemes. The School Streets trial initiatives align with the ambitions of Our Council Plan and West Sussex Transport Plan in supporting active travel.”
The trial started on Monday (4 September) and will run for a minimum of six months, with constant monitoring using sensors. There has already been extensive internal and external consultation and an open public engagement survey will be available for the entire trial period, closing on 31 May 2024: https://yourvoice.westsussex.gov.uk/school-streets