May marked the launch of the new THINK! road safety campaign which we’ve been working on with the Department for Transport (DfT). It took place with 20 excited Year 7 students, many of whom had appeared in new THINK! films. This had a nice circularity to it, and students took pride (and often hilarity) in spotting themselves, and classmates in the films. This was just the beginning of their journey to stardom, with snippets of the road safety lesson broadcast on that evening’s, London Live.
The THINK! push in schools comes on the back of research showing one in 20 primary schools and a third (33%) of secondary schools don’t teach road safety. And whilst DfT’s latest statistics show the number of child road deaths have declined, six children still die every month in road accidents, so there is still much to do. The new campaign aims to cut this number further by supporting a proactive approach to teaching road safety.
In developing this comprehensive road safety programme, we co-created content with young people, stakeholders including Brake, the road safety charity and Bikeability, the organisation dedicated to improving cycling as well as teachers and parents. Targeted at 3-16-year old’s, the resources include films, songs, lesson plans, bite-size activities and interactives. A new THINK! Map tool allows young people, parents and teachers to type in any postcode to identify local road incident hotspots, based on real data.
We know that many child pedestrian injuries happen on the journey to and from school, between 8-9am and 3-7pm. ‘Road ready? expect the unexpected’, one of the new campaign films, stars Citv presenter, Sam Homewood and addresses this issue. The film points out preventable mistakes to students on their school journeys, from being on their mobile phone, to running out into the road to catch a bus. After watching the film in class, students performed their own role-plays, which were both insightful and captivating and demonstrated the power of these resources in helping 11-12 years old think about road safety in their own everyday journeys.
Seeing the new THINK! activities brought to life by Head of Year 7, Mr Singh and his class, was a pinch me moment for ourselves and DfT.
Never mind getting coverage on London Live the lesson made front page news of the School’s newsletter. As a teacher at the school said: “No longer are the hedgehogs or the Green Cross Code Man the face of road safety - we are!”
We can’t wait to see the results as more schools and teachers engage with the new resources and students across the country become fully road ready!