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Southtown school invisible to drivers

PUBLISHED: 10:13 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:46 30 June 2010

DRIVERS passing the entrance to a Great Yarmouth school have no idea it is there - unless they're local, say teaching staff.

Teachers daily press home the road safety message to pupils, aged four to seven, at Southtown Infant School as its entrance is from the busy Stafford Road.

DRIVERS passing the entrance to a Great Yarmouth school have no idea it is there - unless they're local, say teaching staff.

Teachers daily press home the road safety message to pupils, aged four to seven, at Southtown Infant School as its entrance is from the busy Stafford Road. The only sign there is a school is a small sign on a pavement and 20mph speed limit flashing lights.

Headteacher Mrs Elaine Glendinning said: “Drivers don't take any notice of the 20mph limit, and many don't know there is an infant school here.”

The busy route is often used as a short cut for drivers to avoid the Gapton Hall roundabout; they leave the A12 at Harfreys roundabout and turn left into Suffolk Road, past Yarmouth College and Edward Worlledge School and on towards Station Road.

However, the dangers were highlighted and many youngsters left shocked when one child ran out between cars parked illegally on the zigzag lines into the path of on oncoming vehicle.

Year 1 teacher Mrs Thomasina Scott-Greenard said: “It really did shake the children up. The child wasn't badly hurt, but the driver was traumatised, they had been driving really slowly.”

After the incident, immediate action was taken with the closing to parents of the school's visitors car park in Tamworth Lane. The nearby stores of Homebase and Lidl were approached and told of the problems and they agreed their car parks could be used in the morning and afternoon for dropping off and collecting youngsters.

Road safety has been looked at as part of topic work by Year 1. Pupils were concerned about the lack of consideration from drivers using the road and teaching staff invited local PCSO Martin Chapman from the Cobholm and Southtown Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) to talk about road safety.

PCSO Chapman, who is also a school governor, took groups of children onto Stafford Road where they used a

speed gun to see how fast cars were travelling in the 20mph zone.

The youngsters were shocked to find most cars were travelling too fast and the children gave a “thumbs-up” or a “thumbs-down” to show the drivers if they were within the speed limit.

Mrs Scott-Greenard said: “The children also took photos between parked cars, a child's-eye view, and realised they could not see whether it was safe to cross.”

Now the children are making posters in class which will be laminated and displayed on the fences around the entrance to the school. They hope it will help keep them safe and stop drivers from parking illegally outside the school and from driving too fast.

But the teaching staff are hoping for better signage on Stafford Road to warn drivers of the existence of the school and are appealing for local businesses to help them out.

A high-sight sign is needed, one which isn't obscured by parked cars and high vehicles.

“We need a sign to show there is a school here,” added Mrs Glendenning.

PCSO Chapman said: “We are well aware of the issues and concerns surrounding speeding near the school which was further highlighted after an accident a few weeks ago.

“In this case, the driver was not at fault and the pupil involved fortunately escaped injury.

“We have regular contact with the school and we are working in partnership to improve road safety awareness.”


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