School launches 'walking zone' road safety scheme

Parents, teachers and students will form the 'walking bus' - a human chain - and walk to Witney Community School from the Londis store in Hailey Road at 8.45am on Wednesday 30 April.

The event, supported by Thames Valley Police, firefighters and road safety officers from Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service, is to promote the school's School Travel and Road Safety (STARS) Team's new 'Walking Zone' around the school.

The school set up a STARS group after pupils and teachers noticed potentially dangerous parental parking in a nearby road.

Parents dropping off and picking up children and now being encouraged not to drive into the 'Walking Zone' but park a few minutes away and walk the rest of the journey.

Potentially obstructive parking near schools make it harder for children to see and judge traffic and cars causing vision obstacles can also create problems for passing motorists.

Crucial that people are road safety aware

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service's Road Safety Manager, said: "It's crucial that people of all ages are aware of the potential dangers that the road can bring, and this includes parents who drop off or pick up children at school.

"Everybody involved in the 'walking bus' event at Witney Community School will now be better educated about being safe when getting to school and that is a hugely positive thing."

PCSO Fiona Holt said: “I am really proud of the STARS team at Witney Community School, I personally witnessed their enthusiasm and dedication to improving the safety of the children at the school earlier this week.

"I would like to encourage the STARS team to continue to highlighting the dangers of the road to both pupils and parents and I am hoping to encourage other local schools to consider using the STARS programme.”

Jill Meyer-Young , Headteacher at Witney Community Primary School said: “I am proud of the way the children have worked to educate their parents. I hope in future the Walking Zone will become as established area, so local residents will not be blocked in their houses and Witney Community Primary pupils will all have some fresh air and exercise before school to make them even more alert and ready to concentrate on their lessons.”

Footsteps programme

Parents are also being encouraged by the Fire and Rescue Service to take their children to the roadside for practical training, allowing youngsters to make their own decisions and what they see and hear via questioning.

Advice on how to do this is available through Footsteps, a guide for parents produced by the county council road safety team. Free copies are available from schools and via the 365alive website. 365alive is a programme designed to help prevent incidents through education.

Mr Clarke added: “I would encourage all parents to teach their children how to become a safer pedestrian by using the Footsteps pedestrian road safety guide.”

“Road safety is not part of the National Curriculum in schools so it is really important that parents teach their children to be road safe.”

“Footsteps is a fun and practical way of teaching children road safety skills, it helps children learn to think for themselves and gradually get better at dealing with roads and traffic. It could save their lives - so it's one of the most important things a child needs to learn.”

Number of road accidents in Oxfordshire involving children

AGE GROUP (Severity for pedestrian casualties)


0 to 4yrs (Killed or seriously injured)


0 to 4yrs (Slight injury)


5yrs to 9yrs (Killed or seriously)


5yrs to 9yrs (Slight injury)


10yrs to 15yrs (Killed or seriously injured)


10yrs to 15yrs (Slight injury)



The top five causes of child pedestrian road traffic collision casualties are:

  1. Pedestrian failed to look properly
  2. Crossed, masked by stationary/parked vehicle  (driver doesn’t see a pedestrian as they are masked from view by a stationary or parked vehicle)
  3. Careless/Reckless/In a hurry
  4. Pedestrian failed to judge vehicles path or speed
  5. Stationary or parked vehicle (where a pedestrian steps out between a stationary or parked vehicle).