Old Portsmouth community helps pupils get safely to class as St Jude’s Primary trials new school streets initiative

EXCITED schoolchildren were greeted by cartoon characters as they walked to class for a safer school streets day.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 4:05 pm
St Jude's Primary school is trialling the SusTrans school streets initiative. Characters in fancy dress welcoming children to school with Safeguarding manager, Hannah Chainey with Head Teacher, Rachael Osbourne at St Nicholas Street, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

St Jude’s Primary School in Old Portsmouth began its one day trial of the Sustrans school streets initiative this morning.

This involves closing off roads from 8-9am and 2.30-3.30pm to make streets safer for children, and to support the clean air initiatives.

The pupils were met with their favourite characters, who came to welcome the children to school.

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St Jude's Primary school is trialling the SusTrans school streets initiative on 29 June 2021 Pictured: Samuel 7 and Abigail 11, Sonny 10 and Jemima 6 at St Nicholas Street, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Izzy Lewis, deputy headteacher, said: ‘It was definitely an event as we had our five big characters welcoming pupils in St Nicholas Street and Peacock Lane, around all the roads that were closed off.

‘The children were excited - it’s not every day that you get a high five from a Minion, or a pat on the head from Peppa Pig.

‘It’s giving families a chance to walk together and have conversations about road safety.

‘It was everybody together - a community event by the community and for the community.’

Cllr Suzy Horton made an appearance, and headteacher Rachael Osbourne greeted pupils.

Representatives from Sustrans and from Colas were also in attendance, while school staff were out and about to remind youngsters of road safety.

Izzy said: ‘There was also a pop up garden at the front of the school and some people doing surveys.

‘We think it’s really important that everyone in the city does their best to make sure that pupils have a good understanding of road safety and can walk to school safely.’

The school streets initiative, run by charity Sustrans, limits traffic on roads outside school entrances during school opening and closing times.

Although today’s event at St Jude’s Primary School is only a one day trial of the initiative, there is a planned seven week trial in the autumn term.

Izzy added: ‘We won’t know if it’s effective as it’s difficult to tell based on one day, but we’ve had a positive response from parents and the children enjoyed meeting the characters.

‘This is our first trial, and there is another school in the area that was also selected to take part. Sustrans have had some success in boroughs in London, and are working on supporting Portsmouth clean air initiatives as well.’

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