The greater the number of cars outside your school, the more of a road safety risk there will be for pupils, parents and staff walking, cycling and scooting to and from school. High levels of congestion cause increased pollution, having a negative effect on air quality around schools. Illegal or inconsiderate parking can also cause inconvenience to local residents and undermines the school’s efforts to be a good neighbour.
If you have an issue with inappropriate parking outside your school gates at the beginning and end of the school day, and want to reduce the number of children coming to school by car, we have put together the following collection of ideas that could be used to try to reduce the problem. These activities all contribute towards your School Travel Plan and you will be building evidence which can be used to gain accreditation for the ‘Modeshift STARS’ scheme.
If your school operates a School Travel Ambassador scheme, then you may want to include them in some of these projects.
School Gate Parking banner competition:
Why not run a competition for pupils to design a banner that encourages considerate parking which can be attached to your school railings? We can provide you with a template for the banner dimensions and ideas for eye catching designs and messages that work well. Winning designs can then be printed onto vinyl using the Council’s Print Management facility, or an independent printing organisation. If you aren’t able to run a competition to design your own banner, we have some stock artwork that we are happy to provide for you. You can use this to have your own banner printed. We do have a few banners that we can loan out, but this would only be on a temporary basis and they would need to be collected and returned to our Merrion House office.
We have a limited supply of ‘School Gate Parking’ leaflets that can be provided to share with parents. These work well in conjunction with the Mini Police initiative (see below) as they can be handed out by the pupils taking part. You could also hold a competition for pupils to design leaflets specifically for your school. The benefit of designing your own leaflet is that you can include information on suitable walking routes and short cuts in your local area. Pedestrian entrances to the school can also be shown, as can walking, bus routes or park and stride schemes. If you are in need of inspiration, we have an example of a leaflet produced by another school or you may be able to find examples online.
Newsletter / Website
It may seem obvious, but do you include information in your newsletters, school website and twitter feed about parking restrictions outside school? Could something be written by pupils to highlight the issue from their point of view? We have a standard letter that can be used to send out to parents – contact us if you would like a copy emailing out.
Parents’ Parking Pledge / Charter
Encourage parents to use sustainable travel whenever possible, inform them of safe and responsible parking places around school if they do have to drive and ask all parents to sign a pledge to park responsibly when their children start at your school. We have a sample template which we can share with you, or you can design your own.
We can provide information about how to start a ‘Walking Bus’, help you to risk assess routes close to your school and identify other health and safety matters. We can also provide some hi-vis tabards to help get your bus started (might local businesses want to sponsor some vests for you in the future?). The walking bus will need two or more adult volunteers to walk a set route to school, collecting children along the way.
Park & Stride
This involves finding a local, convenient car park a short distance from the school gates which parents can park in and then walk children the rest of the journey to school. This keeps cars away from the school gates and can be organised in partnership with local businesses/organisations, including supermarkets, churches, pubs etc.
5 minute walking zone
Similar to a Park & Stride scheme, you could try setting up a 5 minute walking zone. This would encourage parents to park outside of a given area and walk the rest of the way to school with their children. Even if it is only a 5 minute walk away, this could really help to reduce the number of cars right outside the school gates.
Working with your local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), Year 6 pupils ‘police’ the problem areas at the beginning and end of the school day. Appropriate penalties are given to parents parking inappropriately, including a ‘Road Traffic Offence Ticket’ which gives drivers the option of facing a penalty or writing lines. You could even hold a ‘Kid’s Court’ with the drivers involved, where your pupils question them about their driving behaviour.
Active travel reward scheme
There are a range of active travel reward schemes that are run both locally and nationally, for example ‘Go Green’ and Living Streets’ ‘Walk on Wednesdays (WOW)’ scheme. By participating in these and encouraging pupils to walk, scoot or cycle to school, you should see a reduction in car use and inappropriate parking.
Some schools in Leeds have purchased their own ‘child-sized’ figures (like those shown here) on the pavements and roads outside their schools to highlight the issue of school gate parking and to ask drivers not to park right outside the school gate.
Catherine Chojnowski, Deputy Head Teacher at Pudsey Greenside Primary School told us,
“Our parents have commented positively on the introduction of the safety figures. They feel drop off and collection is now much safer as the entrance to school is now clear of parked cars. Children can now safely cross the road independently. Since its introduction we have had no cars parking on the yellow zig -zag lines which is a complete 100% turn around”.
Any signs of this nature should only be used where a School Keep Clear marking is in effect. Any objects placed on the public highway must not obstruct pedestrian movement and must not be a hazard to other road users or prevent the safe free flow of traffic.
Signs such as these are available from various suppliers which can be found online.
Contact Us / Useful Links:
For further information, please contact the Influencing Travel Behaviour Team (Road Safety and Sustainable Travel) at Road.Safety@leeds.gov.uk or telephone 0113 3787306.