Pupils safety: Thirteen Harrogate headteachers unprecedented plea for new for 20mph speed limits near schools

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Thirteen Harrogate head teachers have issued an unprecedented statement calling for a new 20mph speed limit to be introduced near schools.

The plea was made at a meeting today, Thursday, of the Road Safety Group in Harrogate which was also attended by safety campaigners and North Yorkshire Council.

The joint statement, which is designed to pressure North Yorkshire Council to go ahead with real action on road safety for pupils near schools, reads as follows:

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"As the leaders of 13 schools and education settings in Harrogate, we are committed to the urgent delivery of road safety improvements, for the safety and wellbeing of our pupils, including maximum speeds of 20mph and other infrastructure changes in south and west Harrogate.

Headteachers at the Road Safety Group in Harrogate today which was also attended by safety campaigners and North Yorkshire Council.Headteachers at the Road Safety Group in Harrogate today which was also attended by safety campaigners and North Yorkshire Council.
Headteachers at the Road Safety Group in Harrogate today which was also attended by safety campaigners and North Yorkshire Council.

With over 9,000 children and young people travelling to our schools and education settings every school day, road safety is a key priority.

Following today’s third meeting of the Road Safety Group, at Ashville College, we now urgently await North Yorkshire Executive’s decision next Tuesday, July 4, when they consider the motion passed by the Harrogate & Knaresborough Constituency Committee to deliver a maximum speed of 20mph in south and west Harrogate, along with Cllr Keane Duncan’s review into the 20mph policy issued this week on Monday, June 26.

There is strong evidence from studies of the positive impacts of maximum speeds of 20mph, and we urge the members of the Executive to approve the motion, so safer roads can be created for our schools and the wider community, with a clear programme and timeframe for delivery.

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A maximum speed of 20mph is a key foundation in creating a safer urban environment for all and it encourages healthy active travel choices, from door to destination, around the community.

With strong community support for road safety improvements, commitment to delivering these changes could create a lasting legacy with important road safety and associated health and environmental benefits.

We hope the North Yorkshire Executive can enable these positive and vital changes.

The Road Safety Group will continue to push for investment in the safety of the roads around our schools, including: maximum speeds of 20mph, upgraded crossings, better use of double yellow lines, and repairs to damaged or outdated pavements, barriers and kerbs.

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Ahead of today’s meeting, young pupils from Ashville College took to their bikes for a photocall to show their support for the safety campaign, which they say is pivotal to encouraging more children across the whole of Harrogate to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

Bursar Richard Rooze said: "Ashville supports community initiatives like the Road Safety Group because we recognise that our streets are not as safe as they should be for our young people, and we need to change that.

“We have supported the Pannal Ash Safe Streets Zone and Oatlands Road Safety and Active Travel campaigns since their inception”.

“By working together, the Harrogate schools have been able to make their voices heard: we hope this is the beginning of safer, greener and more active journeys to school for all our young people."

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Year 6 pupil, Jake added: “I cycle to school most days and have been doing since I was seven.

"My journey by bike is only five minutes but I always think it's better than one minute in a car, which would be polluting for the environment.

"I would encourage my classmates to cycle if they can.

“I generally feel safe on the roads but there are times when cars don't stop or go too fast, especially at roundabouts or junctions.

"I would feel a lot safer if there were more 20mph zones.”

Statement by:

School leaders

Richard Sheriff, CEO, Red Kite Learning Trust

Jane Goodwin, Interim Chief Executive, Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust

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Dave Thornton, Interim Headteacher and Iain Addison, Deputy Head St Aidan’s CE School

Neil Renton, Headteacher, Harrogate Grammar School

Tim Milburn, Headteacher, Rossett School

Rhiannon Wilkinson, Headteacher/Richard Rooze, Bursar, Ashville College

Corrine Penhale, Headteacher, Rossett Acre Primary School

Tim Broad, Headteacher, Western Primary School

Zoe Anderson, Headteacher Oatlands Infant School

Estelle Scarth, Headteacher Oatlands Junior School

Steve Mort, Headteacher, St John Fisher’s Catholic High School

Dr Helen Davey, Headteacher/Emma Mitchell, Business Manager, Willow Tree Primary

Jane Turner, Headteacher, Pannal Primary School

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Victoria Kirkman, Executive Headteacher, Admiral Long & Birstwith CE Schools & Interim Executive Headteacher, Ripley Endowed CE, Beckwithshaw & Kettlesing Schools

Danny Wild, Principal/ Kate Herbert, Performance & Projects Co-ordinator, Harrogate College


Hazel Peacock & Dr Vicki Evans - Oatlands Road Safety & Active Travel Campaign

Dr Jenny Marks & Ruth Lily - Pannal Ash Safe Streets.