Children in Cranbrook have staged a silent protest over parents’ antisocial parking outside their school.
Primary-aged pupils crafted their own placards calling on mums, dads and carers to stop-off safely at the town’s education campus in Tillhouse Road.
Youngsters took to the streets during drop-off time on Monday, March 2, and again in the pick-up period on Thursday, March 5.
The parent-teacher association (PTA) at Cranbrook Education Campus has been working with walking and cycling charity Sustrans on the campaign.
Its aim is to reduce the amount of traffic that parks or idles outside the school to improve road safety and air quality.
Headteacher Stephen Farmer said: “As a new campus, in a new town, we want to ensure that good habits related to safe parking and sustainable travel are embedded in our culture.
“The health and wellbeing benefits to both pupils and their parents/carers of walking, cycling or scooting to the campus are well researched and documented.
“However, we realise that some working parents/carers have to drive and drop off/pick up due to their commitments.
“If this is the case, we want to ensure that these parents/carers drive and park responsibly ensuring the safety of our pupils and their families at all times.
“Many of our pupils have concerns about some of the current unsafe parking practices of a few of our parents/carers and they are staging this protest to raise awareness of safer parking around the campus.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, added: “Hats off to the pupils for taking a stand against antisocial parking outside their school and for bringing attention to this issue.
“It’s great to see such enthusiasm for sustainable travel and, while we appreciate not everyone may be able to walk, cycle or scoot to school, no doubt everyone would agree that the safety of children is paramount.
“I expect the local community will do everything it can to maintain the safety of the area outside the school gates.”
Charlotte Stokes, active travel officer for Sustrans, said: “It’s great to see the students so enthusiastic about this campaign that is encouraging parents to think carefully about their parking at the beginning and end of the school day.
“I have worked with the school to encourage walking, cycling and scooting as part of the school journey aiming to prevent the need for parking in the first place.”
One pupil said: “It feels safer crossing the road this morning.”
The school has successfully teamed up with Sustrans since 2015 on ‘active travel’ challenged such as Leg it to Lapland and the Big Pedal.
When asked last year, 76 per cent of pupils who took part in a survey said they would like to ‘actively travel’ to school.