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  1. ITV Report

Teachers' union encouraged by scheme to close roads for safer school journeys

The Ulster Teachers’ Union has suggested closing some roads at peak times to improve safety for pupils making their journeys to and from school.

The street where Cairnshill Primary School is located in south Belfast is extremely busy in the morning and at home time and this is the same where schools are across Northern Ireland.

The lack of parking and people trying to get as close to the front gates as possible is causing major concern that children could be knocked down.

Just last term, Tracey Burrow’s young daughter Katie narrowly avoided just that when she was clipped by a reversing car.

“She was hit on the shoulder where her bag strap would be and she was pushed slightly back and that’s when I pulled her quickly, but had I not she would have been under the wheel,” Tracey told UTV.

“It’s the fear of is that going to happen to somebody else and are they going to go down? Because the cars just don’t stop.”

Many parents at the school have expressed their concern over making journeys to and from school much safer.

In Scotland, one council decided to take action - introducing a pilot scheme closing streets around the schools during drop off and collection times.

The only people allowed through were permit and blue badge holders.

It’s one option that those campaigning for a safer commute are considering.

“At the moment we are working with government agencies to try and alleviate this problem,” Anne Graham, Principal of Cairnshill Primary School said.

“It’s been ongoing for many years, we request parents not to park close to school grounds, we are concerned for the health, safety and wellbeing of our pupils and our other concerns are that the local residents understandably are losing patience with the traffic chaos that we experience every day.”

Jacquie Reid from the Ulster Teachers' Union added: “There are huge concerns about congestion and obviously the safety of the children involved so we’ve been looking with interest at the scheme in Edinburgh.

“We are aware that perhaps there are schools here where it might not be as easy to do that but I think that we do need to take a leaf out of their book and really be proactive at looking at solutions to this problem instead of being reactive in the event of a tragedy.”