Pillans Point School in Otumoetai is working hard to reduce congestion at its school gates and to keep students safe on their journey to and from school each day.
They are achieving this by participating in the Feet First programme run in partnership with Tauranga City Council’s Travel Safe team.
This team has worked closely with the NZ Police to incorporate road safety education in the programme as well as active travel.
Last year the amount of students taking part in the programme was approximately 25 per cent.
This year has seen a huge uptake with 54 per cent of the students participating in the Feet First programme.
Deemed a success by the school, it has proven to be very popular, well supported by parents and caregivers, and importantly the students are motivated and keen to participate.
So how does it work? Any student who walks, bikes, scooters or skates can collect house points for rewards and enjoy a fun afternoon of play each term.
Another part of the initiative, Park & Stride, supports students by offering safe walking sessions to and from areas near to school.
Parents are encouraged to park within short distances of 500m and to walk to collect their children from school.
Deputy Principal Sarah Stock says working in partnership with Travel Safe and NZ Police to educate the local community has been an important step in reducing congestion and frustration at the school gates at 3pm.
“In the past we’ve had instances of cars backed up along Maxwells Road waiting to pick children up, and the road gets blocked.
“Some cars will drive down the wrong side of the road and even through the signs that are put out by road safety wardens when children are crossing. It is not only distressing for teachers to witness this but extremely dangerous for our students.
“That’s why we are doing our best to get kids walking, scootering, and biking.”
With the help of Sheree Ellis, Travel Safe Coordinator at Tauranga City Council, students have produced a fun and informative video.
The aim is to send a clear message to parents and those who they share the roads with as well as to help everyone understand active travel.