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STOP. LOOK. LISTEN. THINK. It’s the mantra of a brand-new road safety education campaign from THINK!

Despite falling numbers of children being killed or seriously injured as a pedestrian or cyclist, this issue is still a major cause for concern. With November marking Road Safety Week, an initiative designed to inspire schools, organisations and communities to act on road safety, the Department for Transport (DfT) launched a new campaign focused on distilling road safety education to young people.

It’s clear that road safety education isn’t top of teachers’ agendas. In fact, a DfT survey of primary and secondary schools recently revealed that 67% of children are taught fewer than two hours of this in their whole time at school and in only 27% of schools can road safety education be described as ‘good’.

Why might this be the case? With such little time devoted to PSHE, time-strapped-teachers are being forced to consider other priorities and issues such as child sexual exploitation and terrorism rank particularly high on the agenda. However, with road safety affecting all of us and road incidents continuing to be a major cause of injury and death for young people in the UK, we must equip our schools with the skills and knowledge to teach pupils how to navigate our roads safely.

Unfortunately, it often takes local road incidents involving pupils for the subject to take on increased importance. Take one such instance in Birmingham where a teacher told us ‘After two accidents involving students wearing headphones happened in close succession, we decided to prioritise road safety over knives and crime.’

We want to ensure we are instilling these road safety learnings in all pupils rather than waiting for events such as this to force the topic onto the teaching agenda. Road safety education is championed by the Department for Transport THINK! campaign, and we have been working with them to reimagine this for today’s generation of young people.

Simplicity and collaboration are at the heart of the new content with clear signposting to partners including Brake and ROSPA. Conscious of teachers’ time, the off-the-shelf resources aid delivery of key skills through films, interactives, lesson plans and suggested schemes of work.

A brand new film co-created with 3-6 year old children ‘Crossing roads: Kids know best’ helps bring the ‘Stop, look, listen & think’ sequence to life and a new road safety song ‘Safer journeys anthem’; brings core information to students in an engaging and age appropriate way. With an option for school personalisation, we hope to encourage schools across the land to adopt the anthem as a reminder of how to cross safely – it’s certainly managed to embed itself into the Hopscotch psyche!

Check out the new content here… and watch out for phases two and three of the resources (for ages 7-12 and 13-16), which will launch in 2018.

About the author

Iona Cousland

A communications expert, Iona works on Lifeskills created with Barclays and DfT’s road safety education programme. She honed her communication skills in the PR industry, co-ordinating high profile campaigns, including National Apprenticeship Week, World Mental Health Day and DfE’s campaign ‘Together, we can tackle abuse’. Her passion for education was first inspired by teaching at a school in Uganda during a year out before university.

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