Aldershot schools promote safer route for pupils following 'near misses' outside gates

Following 'near misses', two schools are promoting a 'park and stride' scheme to make journeys to school safer. Teachers at two Aldershot schools said a new project to increase pupils’ safety is already proving to be a success.

Talavera infant and junior schools have launched a ‘park and stride’ scheme encouraging parents to drop off and pick up their children from the nearby High Street multi-storey car park. In a bid to end congestion outside the schools in Gun Hill, they have reached an agreement with Rushmoor Borough Council, which owns the car park. It means that parents of Talavera pupils can apply for a free sticker allowing them to use the car park without charge during morning and afternoon school-run times.

The children will be led between the school and the car park by teachers in a safe convoy. The scheme was officially launched on Monda 13th February 13 with the help of Basil the Bird, the mascot of Hampshire County Council’s safer school routes team.

Talavera Junior School deputy headteacher Danielle Butler, who helped to set up the scheme, said the current situation outside the schools was dangerous as parents tried to turn their cars while pupils were crossing the road.

“Parents park on the zig-zags and the double yellow lines,” Mrs Butler said. “We’ve had a couple of near misses involving children. This scheme is about making the journey to school as safe as possible for our children.” Mrs Butler said many families live nearby and already walk to school. The new scheme is aimed at others who drive from as far as Brookwood to drop off or collect their children.

In the run-up to its launch, pupils were trained as "road safety auditors" and went out with teachers to find the safest route between the school and the car park. Parents displaying a sticker can use the High Street car park for free from 8.30am-9.15am and from 3pm-3.45pm Monday to Friday. However, the schools have stressed that the agreement only covers the school run and sticker-holders must not use them to go shopping.

Mrs Butler said that the safety message was spreading quickly among parents and that teachers were encouraged to see there were no cars parked on the zig-zag lines outside the schools on Monday morning. She added: “Having pupils crossing the road between parked cars is not appropriate, so park and stride will make things much safer.”

Parents who wish to apply for a park and stride sticker should contact the office of Talavera Junior School on 01252 322156 or email office@talaverajunior.co.uk.

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