Two Jarrow primary schools have started a six-month trial of School Streets, as part of our work with South Tyneside Council to help create a safer, healthier environment outside the school gate.
Children arrive at Simonside Primary School on foot, scooter, bicycle or mobility aid. Photo credit: Mark Savage/Sustrans
Vehicles are now prohibited on the roads outside Simonside Primary School and St Mary's RC Primary School on school days at peak times from 18 September 2023 to 18 March 2024.
This is the first trial of a School Street in South Tyneside.
This approach helps more children arrive to school on foot, scooter, mobility aid or bicycle.
The schools marked the start of the School Streets trial with street parties, where children could play chalk games, hula hoop and enjoy a free breakfast.
This included the chance to try making their own drink on a pedal-powered smoothie bike.
The trial aims to reduce traffic around the schools, encourage more children to walk, wheel, scoot or cycle, and improve air quality.
Donna Scott, Headteacher of Simonside Primary School said:
“This street is normally very busy in the morning with parents dropping off children at two schools and a nursery. There’s also a food bank too.
“I usually spend every morning and evening at that gate with my heart in my mouth.
“There were some near misses with cars pulling up and driving off.
“The road wasn’t wide enough for all the traffic and some parents still parked on the zig zag lines.
“Most of the parents have been very supportive of the School Street.
“Our children will now have a safe area to cross to school and won’t have to dodge between parked cars.
“It will also make the street calmer for residents too.
“I’m really excited about the scheme, and I hope it will encourage other schools in South Tyneside to try a School Street too.”
Children played street games and had a picnic breakfast on the street to mark the start of the project. Photo credit: Mark Savage/Sustrans
First step to safer, healthier travel choices
Ali Campion, our School Streets coordinator in the North of England said:
“I’m really excited to be celebrating the start of South Tyneside’s School Streets programme.
“This is the first step to help more families choose healthier ways to travel and to create safer, healthier neighbourhoods for everyone.
“We know children want to walk, wheel, scoot or cycle to school, they just need a safer environment around the school gate.
“We’ll be working with the school, families, and local residents to help more children try active travel modes, and to make this trial a success.
“We would like to hear from anyone who lives locally about how we could make it better. Please do send in your comments to the public consultation.”
Creating a happier environment for children and families
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said:
“It’s great to be introducing School Streets around Simonside and St Mary’s, the first scheme of its kind in South Tyneside.
“It’s all about encouraging active travel and creating a safer, healthier and happier environment for children and families on their journeys to and from school.
“The initiative will also reduce traffic congestion and in turn make air cleaner in the surrounding streets.
“We hope this will make a real difference. We will be working closely with our partners at Sustrans to monitor the scheme and will be encouraging feedback throughout the trial period.”
Building confidence for children to travel independently
Our schools officers will be working with the schools over the next few months to help children build confidence in walking, wheeling or cycling to school.
Families who have further to travel are able to drive and ‘park and stride’ from the Scotch Estate and at Perth Green Community Association.
Signage will be in place advising residents of the restrictions to vehicles.
However, residents, Blue Badge holders, teachers and those who have legitimate reasons will be allowed vehicular access to the streets.
There is a public consultation on the trial road closures at Simonside Primary School and St Mary’s RC Primary School from 18 September until 18 March 2024.