When our building was erected in 1871, children's journeys to school were by Shanks' Pony. This historical phrase which originated from the late 1700s meant: one’s own legs and the action of walking as a means of conveyance!
Motorised vehicles and road safety awareness have come a long way since then and in the many years that St John's has stood in Portland Road, it has seen many changes to how pupils get to school. We continue to promote a happy, healthy journey, which above all, is safe for our children. Our school improvement plan has a special section for school travel.
We participate in the TFL STARS Campaign; sustainable, active and safe travel and we now hold three awards: bronze, silver and gold. Our Eco school status is interlinked with our travel plan ethos and we prioritise active travel that doesn't harm the environment in all journeys.
Two pupils from Class 6 are annually appointed to the role of JRSO (Junior Road Safety Officer) and they do an invaluable job, leading the whole school in fun activities. They liaise with the school council in order for children to feedback to their classes and help to arrange walking to school weeks, competitions and scootathons amongst others!
Our location enables our pupils to visit a huge variety of places on foot and we embed a safe, active walk to: regular church services, the Rose Theatre, Kingston Museum and library, Kingston College, TA Centre, Canbury Gardens, Pizza Express, sporting events and visits to other schools. Occasionally we do need to use public transport, for example to Chessington Citizenship days , the zoo, and Barnes Wetland Centre.
For many years, St John's has prioritised safe walking to and from various venues within our beautiful local area. We celebrate our eco status and combine this with awareness of using roads safely from the moment children enter nursery until they leave in year 6.
This has been an automatic part of our curriculum for years but with the new curriculum's emphasis on the importance of British Values, we have raised awareness of respect for all road users in our class discussions and talks before going out on trips.
Nursery, for example, enjoy conducting a traffic survey and like pressing the pelican crossing buttons. We also use an area of the playground for road safety education and when the site manager is free, pupils practise crossing outside our school. Then as children go up the school, older year groups take pride in pairing up with the younger ones, holding hands with young ones so that they are 'on the inside' of the pavement in order to visit our church, museum, library, art gallery etc etc. It's an ongoing, common sensical approach that children find fun but most importantly, learn about safety. We are complimented on the children's respectful, sensible and polite behaviour amongst Kingston's busy roads.