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School headteachers share thoughts ahead of forthcoming Safer School Streets trial

The Safer School Streets trial is expected to begin in the school summer term, following completion of highway improvements. These include new crossings, seating and traffic-calming measures on the streets around Oakfield Academy, Critchill School and Trinity First School, and on Park Road near Avanti Park School.

The headteachers of the four schools included in the scheme have shared their thoughts ahead of the start date for the 18-month trial.

Avanti Park headteacher Abby Atkins welcomed pupils to the school from a ‘walking bus’ on Wednesday 20th March, led by Cheryl Sprinkler of local dance/exercise CIC Mojo Moves, and said: “We look forward to seeing improved road safety and opportunities for pupils to travel actively and safely to school as a result of the trial. Avanti Park’s position next to a well-used play park, and on a cul-de-sac, means that traffic volume and turning vehicles pose a significant danger, as well as making it less safe for pupils to arrive at school on foot, or on wheels. We know that people’s needs and challenges vary, but we hope our school community will respond positively and give the 18-month Safer School Streets trial the best possible chance of success.”

Emma Wilkes, headteacher at Oakfield Academy said: “The issue of road safety around the academy is evident to anyone who is in the area at drop off and pick up times. We acknowledge and share the concerns of some parents and residents about how the Safer School Streets trial will impact them, and will feed back our thoughts to Sustrans, Frome Town Council and Somerset Council as the trial progresses. We encourage parents and residents to do the same. We’re hopeful that the scheme will have a positive impact on safety and we look forward in particular to seeing the amazing planters our Year 5 pupils are helping to create with the Bee Friendly Trust. They will go into position on Oakfield Road: a traffic calming measure that will also look lovely and support wildlife.”

Trinity First School headteacher, Amanda Seager said: “We hope the scheme is successful and we’ll be delighted if it means children can come to and from school actively and safely, and also that the air around our schools is cleaner. However, it will make dropping off and picking up from school more challenging for some families, who have valid reasons for needing to drive. There are nearly a thousand children at the three schools in this part of Frome (Trinity, Critchill and Oakfield) and if the scheme improves their experience, that’s a huge positive. We hope the trial period will enable Sustrans, Somerset Council and Frome Town Council to work together with parents, carers and local residents to ensure a way forward that is positive for all.”

Headteacher at Critchill School Emma West commented “We have a considerable number of young people who need to travel by car or bus to school, however we also have young people and families that walk into school. I feel, like my colleagues, that working towards improving road safety for young people is paramount. We share the concerns of some of our parents about the impact. It’s important to note that schools and school staff are taking part in the trial, along with everyone else. We welcome the ongoing consultation and evaluation that comes with Safer School Streets to determine its success and long-term future. ” 

Once the trial begins, there will be timed road closures on the Oakfield Road/Nunney Road junction, including Critch Hill and part of Whitemill Lane, from 8.10am to 9am and 2.45pm to 3.30 pm, Monday to Friday during term time. A separate road closure on Park Road, running up to Avanti Park School, will operate 8.25am to 8.55am and 3pm to 3.30pm. A new 20mph zone will operate across a wider area around the School Streets zone. There will be opportunities to complete surveys and attend public meetings during the trial to feed back about the scheme.

The scheme is funded by the Department for Transport and has been implemented by Frome Town Council, in partnership with active travel charity Sustrans and Somerset Council. Information about the Frome Safer School Streets trial is regularly updated at https://bit.ly/safer-school-streets-24. For more information about the UK-wide Safer School Streets scheme, visit http://schoolstreets.org.uk/

25 March 2024
Last Updated
22 March 2024
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