School zebra parade helps highlight road safety issues

Parents and Woodstock Primary School students will follow headteacher Lisa Rowe - who will be known on the day as The Zebra Express - on Thursday 3 April from 8.15am from the town's library to the Hensington Road school.

The aim of the day is to encourage parents to park and then walk their children to school. Cars stopping near schools to drop off can cause congestion and possible safety problems.

Footsteps programme

It also links to the county council's Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Road Safety team's Footsteps programme, which encourages parents via a practical guide to give their children training by the roadside by youngsters making their own decisions and choices about what they see and hear through questioning.

Obstructive parking near schools can make it harder for children to see and judge traffic, as they need a clear field of vision to see traffic. Drivers also need to have unobstructed vision to see them.

The parade, which will be attended and supported by members of the council's Road Safety team, follows on from a similar event in December, where Ms Rowe dressed as Father Christmas and walked through the town with 158 people in tow.

It also shows the benefit to pupils of taking exercise by walking all or part of the way to school.

Children will pay £1 each to go to school dressed in black and white and the proceeds will go towards the Taplow Traffic Trust, a charity established to support bereaved children who have lost a parent in a traffic collision.

An important awareness-raising event

Lisa Rowe, Headteacher at Woodstock Church of England Primary School said: “This event not only raises money for a good cause but also highlights the importance of walking, fresh air and exercise before school. Parents who walk rather than drive are contributing to making the area near the school safer and can teach their children about road safety on their journey."

Mick Clarke, Road Safety Manager for the county council's Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Walking, even part of the way to school, provides parents with the opportunity to teach their children how to become a safer pedestrian. It's really important to teach children to stop, look and listen and find a clear place to cross where they can see all around.”

“I'd recommend using the Footsteps pedestrian road safety guide to parents to help them teach their child about road safety. Doing so encourages children to 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.”

Free copies the guide - produced by the council's Road Safety team - are available at local schools or to download from the 365alive website.

Road accident statistics involving children in Oxfordshire

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)