Walking Bus

Document Sample
Walking Bus Powered By Docstoc
					Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………


Information Sheet 1 – How to set up and run a Walking Bus
Children and parents all over Ireland walk to school together. Often groups of parents and
children meet up randomly en route and end
up   walking and talking together. Some
schools have gone a step further and
formalised the walk to school in groups - this
may involve setting up a ‘Walking Bus’.
              Right: A walking bus in Bettystown


A Walking Bus is a term given to a group of
school children who walk to and from school,
supervised by volunteers (usually parents or guardians). The Walking Bus allows parents to
share responsibility on the school run and enables young people to walk, who would
otherwise be driven to school by car.


A Walking Bus should consist of a minimum of two adult escorts - a ‘driver’ at the front and a
‘conductor’ at the rear. Parents take it in turns to escort each other’s children to or from
school. The bus follows a set route each morning and evening, with agreed pick up and drop
off points, at, or near pupils’ homes.


Benefits of the Walking Bus
                                                     When choosing a route, ask these questions:
The Walking Bus promotes regular exercise
                                                        •   Is there a pedestrian crossing?
among parents & pupils, and increases
                                                        •   Are there paths present on the route?
safety   on   the   school    journey.     It   is
                                                        •   Are paths wide and well maintained?
convenient for parents as they don’t have
                                                        •   Is    it     safe    to   cross    roads    at
to accompany their child on the school run
                                                            intersections?
every day, as they can participate on a
                                                        •   Do drivers keep within the speed
rota basis. The Walking Bus is fun for pupils as
                                                            limits?
they can meet their friends and walk to
                                                        •   Do drivers give way to pedestrians?
school safely with them, and they arrive at
                                                        •   Does the environment feel safe?
school more alert & energetic. Participation
                                                        •   Are there loose dogs present?
in a Walking Bus also reduces the level of
                                                        •   Are        walkers   exposed      to   criminal
congestion and air pollution caused by cars
                                                            activity?
on the school run and helps participating
pupils learn pedestrian skills & road safety.


Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………52
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

Top Tip:
If school bags are too heavy for pupils to carry them to school, try sourcing a trolley to
carry them on the Walking Bus. A local supermarket may sponsor this initiative and
schools can then decorate the trolley as they see fit!


1.1       Guide to Organising a Walking Bus
  STEP                     ACTION                                    NOTES

      1     Identify suitable routes for the bus   Routes need to be pedestrian friendly

      2     Carry out a risk assessment of the     Black spots and potentially hazardous
            proposed route. Get in touch with      areas need to be identified
            the Road Safety Officer from your
            Local Authority for help.
      3     Get parents together to explain        Send out letters and organise a meeting
            the benefits and to gauge interest     with the Parents Association
                                                   Compile a database of registered
      4     Record and register volunteers         volunteers & their details. Prospective
                                                   volunteers should be vetted by Gardai.
                                                   Walking the route enables the co-
      5     Walk the route                         ordinators to select the safest and
                                                   shortest route.


      6     Plot routes and pick up points for     Produce a map of the chosen route and
            each bus                               the points where each pupil will be
                                                   picked up and dropped off


                                                   Each vetted volunteer and pupil
      7     Devise a rota for volunteers and       participant need to fully understand
            issue it to participants               when and where they are involved. Pick
                                                   a co-ordinator for each bus.
                                                   Provide volunteers with a list of registered
                                                   pupils and parents contact details.
                                                   A list of volunteers and their contact
      8     Inform parents                         details, routes and collection points
                                                   should be issued to parents of




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………53
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

                                                 participating pupils


 STEP                     ACTION                                     NOTES
          Train adult volunteers – contact       A trial run of the Walking Bus should be
   9      the Road Safety Officer in your        carried out with additional supervision
          local Council for support.             provided by the school & Gardai.
                                                 Wearing vests improves safety on the
          Distribute high visibility vests,      walk to school by creating a greater
  10      bands, lights, etc. to participants    awareness of the pupils among motorists
                                                 and other road users. It also becomes a
                                                 local advertisement for walking.
          A minimum ratio of 1:6 adults to       A higher ratio of adults to pupils (approx.
  11      pupils and a maximum of 18             1:4) may be considered if walking with
          participants in each walking bus is    younger children.
          recommended
                                                 It is important to record and monitor the
  12      Keep daily or weekly records of        levels of participation to gauge progress.
          numbers participating                  Information can by displayed and shared
                                                 on a travel notice board.
          Constant updating of the register      Updates should be carried out by the
  13      is necessary as more pupils and        Walking Bus Coordinator and information
          volunteers sign up for participation   circulated among participants



Case Study
Dirleton Primary School in the UK set up their Walking Bus to address parental and school
concerns about congestion around the school gates. A local hotel assisted them by
funding a fluorescent tabard for each pupil using the bus. As the name of the hotel was
printed on the back of the tabards, several local companies approached the school
asking to sponsor the bus! Dirleton’s Walking Bus operates in any weather conditions, but
they recommend having a contingency plan in order in case of extreme weather. They
also recommend setting down clear guidelines for the Walking Bus, and running a pilot
scheme for a few weeks initially. For more information see www.sustrans.co.uk




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………54
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

1.2    Questions & Answers
                                    Will my children be safe?
                                    The walking bus is highly visible, well supervised and
                                    walking in a group is safer than walking alone. Adult
                                    volunteers should be vetted by the local Gardai and
                                    ideally trained by Local Authority Road Safety Officers
                                    (RSO).
Above: Walking Bus in Donabate


How is the route chosen?
                                              Case Study – Identifying a Safe Route
The route is based upon where the
                                              Bathwick St Marys Primary School in Bath in the UK
volunteers and children live. The chosen
                                              is an urban school in a residential area with many
route must be pedestrian friendly and a       busy roads. Parents and the Board of
risk assessment of the proposed route         Management decided to set up a Safe Routes to
should be carried out prior to                School committee (similar to a Green Schools
commencement. It might be a good              Committee) and surveyed pupils & parents about
idea to discuss the chosen route with the     how they travelled. 80% of parents said they would
Local Authority Road Safety Officer &         encourage their children to walk if there was a
County Engineer.                              safe crossing on their route. The School made this a
                                              priority in their Action Plan, and worked closely with

At what age do children usually use the       their Local Authority to install a pedestrian crossing,

walking bus?                                  which proved just as useful for local residents as it

Infants and junior classes usually use the    has for the 230 pupils! The school continues to
                                              promote walking through themed assemblies, and
Walking Bus. However there is no age limit
                                              recommends involving as many parents as possible
and a good mix of ages is desirable.
                                              so they do not get overloaded or suffer ‘school
Older children can also be ‘buddies’ for
                                              travel fatigue’. For more information see
younger children and assist them on their
                                              www.sustrans.co.uk
journey.


Does the bus operate in bad weather?
                                 The bus should operate in almost all weather conditions and
                                 may only be cancelled if extreme weather conditions occur.
                                 Children are expected to wear appropriate clothing to
                                 protect them from the elements.
                                 Left: Donabate Walking Bus




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………55
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

What happens if a volunteer has to cancel?
Volunteers are expected to find a replacement. All volunteers should be given a rota and
contact details of the other volunteers and participating students. The replacement must be
a registered volunteer. Each week one volunteer should be on call to provide emergency
cover. In the event that nobody is available to cover, the bus will be cancelled and it is the
responsibility of each parent to get their children to school.


What is the ratio of supervisors to children?
Each walking bus requires a minimum of two adults: a ‘driver’ at the front & a ‘conductor’ at
the rear. A minimum ratio of 1:6 adults to pupils should be observed. A maximum of 18 pupils
in each bus should not be exceeded. If there are a large number of younger children the
ratio of adults to parents should be increased to 1:4.


What happens if the bus is late?
The bus should be scheduled to arrive before the start of school to allow for possible delays. If
the bus is extremely late parents should be able to contact volunteers/co-ordinators by
mobile phone and make further arrangements.


What happens if parents are late?
If parents are late dropping their children to pick up points the walking bus should not wait as
other children are waiting for collection. Parents will then be responsible for dropping their
children to school.


What is the correct procedure in the event of an accident occurring?
In the unlikely event of a serious injury occurring to one of the pupils on the Walking Bus,
volunteers/co-ordinators should have a mobile phone on their person and an emergency
services number to contact. The child’s parents should also be contacted in such an
instance. It is a good idea to keep an accident/incident book to record when and where
accidents/incidents occur. Volunteers should make a written account of the incident. The
volunteer/co-ordinator should follow it up with a phone call. If necessary, the insurance
company and/or local authority should also be contacted.


Who provides insurance cover for the walking buses?
Pupils may already be insured under the general school policy and this needs to be clarified.
Otherwise some insurance companies provide twenty-four hour cover for school children.




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………56
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

Supervisors can seek insurance against third party claims at the discretion of the local
authority.


Useful Links
www.dto.ie/walkbus.pdf           www.walkingbus.com             www.walkingschoolbus.org
www.walkingbus.org               www.iwalktoschool.org



1.3      Guidelines & Procedures for Volunteers & Coordinators
      1. Provide your name & contact details for the walking bus rota to the co-ordinator. The
         Co-ordinators should make the rota available to other volunteers, the school &
         parents/guardians.
      2. Obtain a copy of the route map and drop off & collection points.
      3. Secure a copy of the details of registered children on your route. This should be kept
         on your person in case of emergency. Details should include parents/guardians
         contact details, and an alternative family members contact details.
      4. During the operation of the walking bus at least one operator must be at the front
         and one at the rear of each bus.
      5. Volunteers and participants should wear high visibility vests for safety and recognition
         purposes. Ideally volunteers should wear red vests and children should wear yellow
         vests.
      6. Volunteers should be vetted by the Gardai.
      7. If a volunteer cannot fulfil their post on a particular day, they must organise a
         replacement as determined by the rota.
      8. Involve the local Gardai and Local Authority Road Safety Officer in the scheme and
         ask them to monitor the operation on occasion.
      9. Devise a plan for dealing with minor incidents and accidents en route. It is a good
         idea to keep a record of all incidents.
      10. In the event of a serious accident or injury, immediately contact the emergency
         services and then contact the coordinator and the child’s parents/guardians.
      11. If, for some reason there is only one volunteer present, walk at the back of the bus
         and place the most responsible child at the front.
      12. The walking bus must keep to the designated routes and pick up points.
      13. The bus should only cross the road at predetermined crossing points.




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………57
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

      14. Basic training for supervisors should be provided before the walking bus commences.
          This can be done by the local Garda, Road Safety Officer or other qualified
          personnel.
      15. Volunteers may be asked to leave the initiative if they prove to be unreliable.


Top Tip!
Start slowly by running the walking bus one day a week. Concentrate on the morning run
as this is easier to manage & facilitate. Once the walking bus is fully established then you
can investigate offering a walking bus for the home run.



1.4       Guidelines & Procedures For Parents
      •   Read and sign a consent form to enable your participation as a
          volunteer.
      •   Fill out a consent form to register your child to participate on the
          walking bus.
      •   Ensure children are appropriately dressed to walk safely to school,
          i.e. high visibility vests, wet gear etc.
      •   Inform children that they are to follow instructions from the bus supervisors & behave
          appropriately.
      •   Pupils will be removed from the walking bus for persistent misbehaviour
      •   It is the parents’ responsibility to supervise their own child until they are picked up by
          the walking bus.
      •   If parents are late dropping their children to pick up points they are then responsible
          to bring their child to school.
      •   Parents must agree with the walking bus, where and when they want their children to
          be dropped off if the bus operates after school.

Case Study: Hadley Wood Primary School, Enfield, UK
As part of a Safer Routes to School Scheme, a Walking Bus was set up by Hadley Wood
Primary School in 2001. The bus operates in the mornings, and parents volunteer to run it.
To promote the bus, a competition was held to design a sign to put along the route of
the Walking Bus. The winning sign was a yellow Walking Bus.


All 40 pupils participating in the bus are awarded savings cards for walking. At the end of
each week, those who have used the bus for the majority of the week receive a smiley




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………58
Green-Schools Information Sheets………………………………………………………

face sticker in the savings card. Each child who completes the award card gets a
special prize.


To celebrate the first birthday of the bus, there were special treats for the pupils – they
were greeted at the start of their route with balloons, welcomed to school by the school
band playing Happy Birthday, and presented with a Walking Bus birthday cake. For the
second birthday of the bus, a second route was officially launched, allowing more pupils
to participate! Hadley Wood recommend holding regular events to celebrate the
Walking Bus as a motivation for parents & pupils. For more information see
www.sustrans.co.uk or www.enfield.gov.uk/




END




Information Sheets…………………………………………………………………59

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:18
posted:2/9/2011
language:English
pages:8