Members recently undertook a short task and finish review to consider education and road safety. A report was considered by the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Cabinet is now requested to consider the members’ recommendations.
Councillor Andy Crump (Portfolio Holder for Resources and Fire & Rescue) introduced the item explaining that the report was that of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Crump explained that Councillor Clare Golby (Chair of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee) had been due to present the report but had had to give her apologies. He read out a statement from Councillor Golby in which the report and its recommendations were commended. Councillor Crump proceeded to summarise the key findings of the Task and Finish Group as set out in the report.
Councillor Izzi Seccombe thanked the Task and Finish Group for its work and added that road safety for children is a theme frequently raised at parish council meetings.
Other members expressed their support for the report and recommendations adding that road safety is an issue that is frequently raised wit them.
Councillor Helen Adkins observed that the Safer Routes to School initiative had ended and whilst most primary schools requiring attention had received it, some senior schools had yet to be addressed.
Councillor Kam Kaur reminded members that they each have a delegated budget which can be used on road safety schemes related to schools.
Councillor Andy Crump closed by informing the meeting that work is being undertaken with schools to provide secure cycle and scooter storage. In addition, on-line school assemblies are empathising road safety messages. The key, Councillor Crump suggested, is to achieve long term behavioural change.
1. Support the internal and external bids for two School Travel Plan Officer roles for a two-year period, which will be separately assessed through the appropriate funding processes.
If either of the bids are not successful, make a decision whether this growth bid should be added to the MTFS pressures in the budget proposals to be recommended to Council in February 2021.
2. Encourages all County Councillors to actively assist the School Safety Team in their work with schools, including promoting the SAFER project and any school champion work.
3. Asks that the School Safety Team provides support to School Champions and County Councillors when needed.
Councillor Fradgley thanked the officers involved in the TFG and informed the committee that the TFG were previously not aware of the current school road safety programmes being provided by the Road Safety team within the council. Briefings were set up for members in all five districts for the Road Safety Team to share their current work and explain their broad safety remit. The current project will help deal with climate change and improve green travel with teaching children how to cycle and walk safely to school and provide information when needed. She proposed that the report recommendations be approved and sent to Cabinet for their consideration.
The Chair thanked Councillor Fradgley for presenting the report and commended the council for having the team in place pre-TFG.
Councillor Kondakor expressed his surprise with how aggressive residents can be outside school gates and the proposed additional officer roles would be good to make it a safe area. He noted that the council had reminded residents to turn their car engines off when waiting for their children in order to benefit the poor air quality around schools. The Chair added that work with errant parking at schools had been undertaken by the council too.
Councillor Crump praised the SAFER project for tailoring to the schools they are implemented in. Councillors Crump and Holland noted that improvements would not happen immediately, and cultural change would be the main cause of improvement. Councillor Crump informed the committee that in 2019 33 people were killed and 300 injured on Warwickshire roads.
Members of the committee discussed 20mph zones around schools and accidents that happened outside schools in their divisions because of speeding cars.
Councillor Fradgley added that children need to feel confident cycling on roads.
The Road Safety Education Task & Finish Group recommends that Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee:
1. I) Support the internal bids for two School Travel Plan Officer roles for a two-year period.
II) If the internal bids are not successful, Communities OSC asks Cabinet to consider adding funding for the roles to the budget proposals to be recommended to Council in February 2021.
2. All County Councillors actively aid the School Safety Team with their liaisons with schools in their respective divisions, including promoting the SAFER project and any school champion work.
3. All school champions receive support from the School Safety Team and County Councillors when needed.