Holy Cross Boys’ PS, Ardoyne Belfast

Holy Cross Boys is an inner city school who have always ensured that road safety is a key part of their curriculum. However, like many other schools, they have experienced the trauma in recent years of a pupil being knocked down and killed on his way to school. Conor O’Neill’s passing left his school, family and community devastated.

Since then, the school, along with Conor’s parents, have been very proactive in raising awareness and held a walk on Conor’s anniversary with over 400 pupils in high-vis jackets walking through the Ardoyne area. They plan to hold this event every year on Conor’s anniversary.

The school fully understand that they need to constantly remind children of the dangers of the road and have developed their own road safety material and have plans to produce a video using their own pupils.

Active School Travel Programme delivered by Sustrans

Sustrans deliver the Active School Travel Programme on behalf of the Public Health Agency and the Department of Regional Development that currently works with nearly 200 schools to encourage more pupils to cycle, scooter and walk safely to work. Car congestion around school gates is a significant road safety issue, however, a major barrier to active travel is a parent’s fear of road safety for their children.

This programme educates young people in a practical way, giving them the skills and knowledge to be more confident and aware of the dangers. This is best shown in their Bikeability on-road cycling training which has been delivered to over 1,300 children in the last two years. Since starting in 2013, the three year programme has seen the number of pupils cycling to school rise from 39% to 53%. A dedicated team of 8 Sustrans Active Travel officers deliver the programme and demand for their services is growing all the time.

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