Campaign to Promote Safer School Drop Offs Launched at John Wheeldon Primary Academy

This week, John Wheeldon Primary Academy, Staffordshire Police and the INTO School Travel Team came together to launch a two-week national vulnerable road users campaign.

The multi-force initiative aims to create awareness of the sustainable options available to children and parents on their journey into school.

John Wheeldon Primary Academy was chosen because it had a combination of factors which made it a good starting point. Including, complaints from residents, good Park and Stride locations, lots of enforceable streets, and the school was already being proactive in this matter.

On 14th September 2021, police officers from Staffordshire Police, along with senior members of Staffordshire County Council set out to educate parents and carers on how to park safely and legally when dropping off and collecting their children now that they have returned for the new school year.

On arriving at school, pupils were awarded various stickers and snap bands in different colours, depending on how they travelled in. This included using the walking bus, scooting, cycling, Park and Stride or walking.

As John Wheeldon Primary Academy pupils arrived to start their school day, they were greeted at the playground gates by the fantastic INTO School Travel Team. Staff handed out stickers and other goodies that will hopefully encourage the children to spread the word of this initiative and make the changes necessary for a greener, safer journey to school for all.

Amongst the people campaigning about the change was Helen Fisher, Deputy Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, who commented on the event: “This is partnership working at its very best. It’s marvellous to see the police officers educating the parents and those who need a reminder and that’s what’s happened this morning. Hopefully now behaviour will change.”

The police force has contributed massively to the cause by raising a huge £50,000 for the INTO School Travel Team to purchase more school parking buddies. The purpose of the signs is to discourage cars from parking dangerously around the school gates. For example, cars parked on zig zags or near crossing points can impede children’s views and will render the crossing unsafe; the buddies make parents think about the safety of the children walking to school.

David Williams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council explained: “For parents that need to travel by car, it can be a particularly busy time and we want to encourage them to not only be responsible drivers, but to use Park and Stride wherever possible and also park legally, keeping pavements clear for all pedestrians.”

John Wheeldon Primary Academy hopes that the event this morning encourages parents to change their habits going forward. Whether that means using local areas to Park and Stride, cycle, or scoot with children to the gates or even dropping them at the near-by walking bus. This way, pupils get five to ten minutes exercise each morning, they can chat to their peers and allows them to wake up and prepare for a day of learning.

Principal at John Wheeldon Primary Academy, Richard Sutton, commented: “We are really pleased that John Wheeldon Primary Academy were chosen to kick off the INTO School Travel Team campaign.

“School mornings have always been challenging for us as our utmost priority is keeping the children safe. Unfortunately issues with parking have arisen that compromises our pupils’ wellbeing, such as car fumes entering the classroom. We were eager to get on board with the project and to help raise awareness of the fantastic schemes that are available to parents and their children to get them to school safely and on time.

“As part of Staffordshire University Academies Trust, we strongly support protecting pupil and staff wellbeing so have been very proactive in tackling this issue, therefore encouraging our parents and carers to think before they park now that pupils have returned for the new school year.”

Maps of where to find the walking bus starting point will be sent home to parents, which is located just a ten-minute walk away from the Academy and shows important information on where is suitable to Park and Stride.

This campaign is being rolled out across the Trust with most Academies now taking part to raise awareness and educate for healthier and safer school arrivals:

  • St Leonard’s CofE First School
  • St Edward’s C.E. Academy, Cheddleton
  • Dove C.E. Academy
  • Staffordshire University Academy
  • Little Aston Primary Academy
  • John Wheeldon Primary Academy
  • Littleton Green Community School
  • Perton Primary Academy
  • St Paul’s C.E. (VC) First School
  • St Luke’s C.E. Academy
  • Charnwood Primary Academy
  • Moorgate Primary Academy
  • All Saints C.E. Academy, Denstone
  • St Augustine’s C.E. Academy
  • St Peter’s C.E. Academy, Alton

If you are interested in a Trust that encourages and supports change for a safer environment for your pupils and staff, contact us today.


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