Years 5 and 6 pupils from Etherley Lane Primary School in Bishop Auckland have produced a community newspaper entitled ‘The Etherley Lane Safety Echo’.
The publication includes articles about the new part-time 20mph speed limit outside their school, as well as other features on road safety, and will be distributed among the local community.
Durham County Council recently began rolling out the lowered speed limits as part of the ‘Slow to 20 for safer streets’ campaign.
The project involves introducing 20mph limits on roads near 33 schools across the county and is aimed at reducing road casualties and providing a safer environment for children who walk and cycle to school, helping them to be more active.
Pupils were given some hints and tips to help them conduct interviews, write news stories, take photos and design and layout their newspaper by the council’s press team.
Their project was also filmed for inclusion in a video which the council is producing to promote the 20mph campaign.
Karen Bennett, head teacher at Etherley Lane Primary School, said: “The 20mph speed limit has made a positive difference to our pupils and the community as a whole.
“It has helped improve road safety in the local area, promotes health and wellbeing and provides a safer environment for all the pupils at our school as well as the children who go to Etherley Lane Nursery.
“We are extremely proud of all the pupils who took part in our newspaper project – they were really enthusiastic and grasped the road safety message very well and produced a high-quality, informative publication.”
The newspaper was launched at the school on Tuesday 24 November to coincide with Brake’s Road Safety Week which takes place this week – the theme being ‘Drive Less, Live More’.
Throughout the week, ongoing child pedestrian training and Bikeability cycle training is taking place at a number of schools across the county as well as safety carousels which are being held every day during November at The Workplace in Newton Aycliffe.
John Reed, head of technical services, Durham County Council, said: “This week-long national campaign will help raise awareness of the dangers children and young people face on, or near, the roads.
“There are a number of initiatives taking place throughout the county, including the promotion of the 20mph speed limit campaign, which demonstrates our commitment to keeping young people safe on the roads.”
Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Our aim is to equip schoolchildren with the knowledge and skills they need to be safe on the roads. It is great to see pupils putting this into practice by producing their own community newspaper to raise awareness of these important issues.”
Paul Watson, the council’s road safety manager, added: “All the work we have done complements the installation of the 20mph signs and by working with schools we are hoping to change attitudes and behaviours among drivers regarding their speed on the roads.”