Doncaster schoolkids' protest puts brake on bad parking
With a view across the road of some of the world's most iconic aircraft, you'd expect the children at Lakeside Primary School to know plenty about transport.
Having been across the road to the neighbouring Doncaster Aeroventure aircraft museum, the pupils certainly know about air transport. But there is one type of transport they do not want to see – any car which parks in front of their school.
Youngsters have launched their own campaign to stop cars parking outside the school at busy times and are pleased with the results so far after a week of action outside the gates on Sandy Lane, Belle Vue.
They have designed placards and banners to leave motorists in no doubt it is not acceptable to stop on the zig-zag lines in front of their schools, or outside the nearby St Peter’s Catholic School which is directly opposite their front gate.
Year 6 pupils have paraded their banners outside the school each day this month to make sure drivers picking up or dropping off children get the message. The banners carry slogans such as ‘No Parking – keep us safe’ and ‘Child safety comes first – no parking’. The campaign started when the school looked to mark Child Safety Week last month and national Walk to School Week with pupils coming up with designs for their own.
Headteacher Janet Witton said: “We have put a lot of effort into asking people not to park in front of the school and the pupils decided to join the campaign.
“I have spoken to mums and dads in the mornings on occasions and it is becoming less difficult, but there are some times when I have to knock on their windows.
“You get children hopping out of cars between parked cars when it is busy, and they can’t see what’s coming on the road at all.
“It can be very dangerous if we don’t have good visibility.
“I can think of at least two incidents in the last nine years here where children have been injured – one was when a little girl got knocked down and the other was when a pupil had a vehicle go over her foot.”
Year 6 teacher Natasha Amess has taken a key role in working with the children on the campaign.
She said: “We’re promoting National Walk to School week and the children have been receiving house points for walking or coming in on their bikes. We have done a lot to promote cycling and walking – and the bike sheds are full most days.
“Most of the children live locally, inside the catchment area.”
Ms Amess has joined the pupils when they hit the streets at 2.30pm each afternoon to get their message across.
She said: “It’s getting better each time. We get lots of thumbs up and smiles, and most people say that it is a good idea to do what we are doing and support us. I think it’s a good reminder more than anything.
“I think the message is more powerful coming from the children than it would be from one of us adults.”
The Year 6 pupils leave to go to secondary school this month, so they will not be able to continue with their work. But it is possible others may take their place in the next school year.
Whether they do or not, there are plans to laminate the signs they have made and leave them on show outside the school to keep the message clear.
The pupils are proud of what they have been doing.
Isaac Walker, aged 10, said: “I’m happy that it’s having an effect.”
Tyler Bucknell, 11, added: “We’re helping stop people getting hurt. It makes me think I can change things for the better.”
* Youngsters in Lakeside’s drama group have taken a trip back to Victorian times in their annual end of term show.
Their show, Olivia, which has been performed to audiences of parents and fellow pupils, combines a number of famous characters from the 19th century.
They include Eliza Doolittle, Fagin, the Artful Dodger, Ebeneezer Scrooge and Sherlock Holmes, and traces the steps of Olivia from downtrodden orphan to star of the stage.
A total of 20 pupils were involved in the production, all of whom take part in the school’s drama group on Wednesday afternoons.
Drama co-ordinator Debra Williams said: “It’s really entertaining with lots of singing and dancing. About 140 have seen it. I’ve been really impressed with all the performances.”