The Bus that walks to school!
Every day the residents of Hague Bar take great delight at seeing a ‘Bus’ walking past their homes. The Hague Bar Primary School ‘Walking Bus’ was the brainchild of new Headteacher Sue Kennedy, which she discussed with the Travel Plan committee. Money was then raised through the Travel Plan to provide a shelter in the playground for the possible increase in numbers of children walking to school.
Parking outside school has long been a bone of contention for residents and parents alike. The road between New Mills and Marple is a busy commuter route, to Stockport and Manchester, and causes massive and often dangerous problems for parents wanting to drop their children by car in the mornings.
Hague Bar Primary School is a very successful school with a reputation for high standards and excellent behaviour. Consequently parents travel from near and far to attend this popular small school on the outskirts of New Mills. Many of the children travel by service bus and are met each morning from the bus by the very friendly school ‘lollipop’ person. In the afternoon staff escort the children and wait with them at the bus stop.
The solution for the parking problems has been solved by the initiation of the ‘Walking Bus’ that has had encouragement and support from local police. Parents are encouraged to park safely, a few hundred metres from school, at Mousely Bottom car park on Waterside road. The children are then formed up into a ‘walking bus’ wearing fluorescent jackets and led safely to school hand in hand, crocodile fashion, by a small but willing band of parents. The ‘bus’ leaves at 8.30 am and reaches school at 8.40 am in time for 10 minutes playtime. The same happens in reverse in the afternoon and parents can meet and chat in safety at the car park until their children are safely delivered back to them at 3.30pm. Children often get the chance, in better weather, to enjoy the recreation ground co-located with the car park.
The scheme has had many benefits, not least of which has been the aspect of increased safety for the children. The extra benefit of some exercise and fresh air has also had an impact too, with staff reporting that children are enthusiastic, energised and more ready to learn in the mornings. A local resident has written to school to say:
“The children look so happy, the little ones holding hands with the adults and chatting to one another. I’d say it is a huge success and thank you, I am sure I speak for the other residents of Hague Bar.”
Sue Kennedy, Headteacher