School new travel training

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Pupils at a St Helens special school are benefiting from a unique travel training facility installed on the school’s grounds.

Funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) – which helps provide sustainable transport solutions that support economic growth while reducing carbon emissions – the project at Mill Green School in Parr has also been backed by engineering and technology giant Siemens, which has donated both equipment and staff time.

To help students at the school, which caters for people aged 13-19 with special needs, the new training area contains realistic replicas of pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, street furniture, bus stops and timetable information.

Headteacher Colin Myers said: “The idea was to make it as realistic as possible within the space we had – and I think that has certainly been achieved.

“The area can be used for travel training and road safety training before some of our students make their own way around near real roads.

“We also have the potential to train some students to use public transport to and from school – giving them increased independence, freedom and confidence.

“It also promotes further independence in travelling to work experience placements as well as general access to the local community.

“The outdoor work will be supplemented by classroom-based learning on route planning, road safety, timetables, personal safety, public transport and ticketing.”

Coun Jeanette Banks, cabinet member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “As far as we know there are only a handful of such facilities across the country.

“We hope that it will also be used by students from other schools across the borough as well as other organisations. It will be useful for many students with special educational needs (SEN) to help them become more independent.”