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Shield Row Primary School 5 minute walking zone

Shield Row Primary School joined the school travel planning programme to help resolve issues relating to the site's two car parks. This was achieved by setting up a 5 Minute Walking Zone.

Situated in the village of Shield Row, north of the former mining town of Stanley, the school caters for 160 pupils aged from 4 to 11 years old and shares the same site as Stanley Education Centre.

Main aims and objectives

The school travel planning working group was aware that parents were parking in the education centre's car park, then walking into school through this area instead of entering the school using the pedestrian entrance.

The working group expressed concern as vehicles visiting or dropping pupils at the school were entering the education centre car park at the same time as their visitors - and this was all taking place at the same time as pupils were walking through it. Some of these pupils were unaccompanied.

However, the problems were not exclusive to the school grounds. Reports from the school crossing patrol and local residents also raised issues of traffic congestion on Pelaw Avenue at the beginning and end of the school day.

Five Minute Walking Zone

It was decided that these problems could be resolved by encouraging more pupils to walk to school.

The working group knew that the catchment area for the school was drawn from the local area. This was supported by a travel questionnaire for the schoolchildren, which showed that 78 per cent of pupils lived less than 1km away from the school.

With this in mind, the working group decided to set up a five minute walking zone around the school. The Year 5 class enthusiastically took on the responsibility of setting up the zone. Adult volunteers were invited to help, and the pupils put on high visibility jackets and split into different groups.

Armed with cameras, maps, pencils and a watch, each group walked from the school gates in different directions for five minutes. Once the five minutes had elapsed, the groups marked their destination on a map. Once back in the classroom, the information was transferred onto a larger map of the area and the walking zone was created.

The pupils then decided that the next thing to do would be to promote the zone, and created a leaflet to send home for parents and carers. So that everyone would be able to see where the zone began, markers were attached to lamp columns at the perimeter of the zone.

The pupils also considered the need to encourage everyone to participate in the scheme and came up with the idea of fellow school children being awarded a mile for walking within the zone. These miles were then totalled up and recorded on a map of Europe, which is displayed in the school assembly hall.

Celebrating success

The zone was launched by Sam, Durham County Council's Safer, Greener, Fitter mascot, during the National Walk to School Week. A special school assembly was also held for pupils and representatives from the working group.

Following the introduction of the zone, a hands-up survey revealed that 110 children (78% of those attending Shield Row) were walking to school. This compares to the 60 children (53% of pupils) who were walking the school journey before the zone was introduced.

Having been so successful in identifying, creating and implementing a walking initiative, the Year 5 class was approached to use their skills once again.

They were asked to participate in an inter-county debate between two schools from Durham and two schools from North Yorkshire, which was held in the council chambers at County Hall in Northallerton.

The pupils were delighted to be invited and relished the opportunity to debate the idea that 'everyone should walk at least part of the way to school'.

The whole class researched the topic, gathering together facts and figures and thinking of exciting and different ways of delivering the arguments for and against the motion. Two pupils were chosen to speak at the debate and having practised their speeches, the big day arrived. The pupils enjoyed the coach journey to Northallerton and were over-whelmed by the splendour of County Hall and the ornate council chambers.

The two pupils gave thought-provoking and innovative speeches using the material developed for the five minute walking zone and a puppet! A wonderful day was had by all, the pupils thoroughly enjoying the experience.

The school's travel plan co-ordinator and Year 5 teacher commented: "My Year 5 class thoroughly enjoyed setting up and promoting the Shield Row Walking Zone.

"Their involvement gave them a sense of ownership and they were very enthusiastic in encouraging the rest of the school to participate, using posters, leaflets and a whole school presentation.

"Being responsible for the walking zone and participating in the Inter-County Debate at Northallerton, not only increased their understanding of local traffic issues but also raised their awareness of wider global implications and contributed to their becoming responsible young people."

Contact us
Travel Planning
03000 265 309
Our address is:
  • Regeneration and Local Services
  • Sustainable Transport
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
0191 383 4080