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Gonerby Hill Foot Primary School joins forces with Vaculug and Met Police to teach lorry safety amid concerns over Gonerby Road near Grantham and A1





Do you know how many nine-and ten-year-olds you can get in front of a lorry before the driver can see them?

Pupils at a Grantham school have been learning about lorry safety as part of efforts to tackle concerns over increasing traffic on a busy road.

Gonerby Hill Foot Primary School collaborated with tyre specialists Vaculug and officers from the Metropolitan Police to offer a road safety awareness event to Year 5 pupils on Tuesday.

The view from inside the cab. | Image: Daniel Jaines
The view from inside the cab. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Gonerby Road has had an increase in the amount of traffic over recent years, and the route is often used by HGV lorries. In recent years, the crossing outside the school was upgraded.

The school thought it would be beneficial to join forces and make older children aware of the road dangers, especially as they are approaching secondary school transition time.

Gonerby Hill Foot headteacher Jayne Watson said: “Gonerby Road is one of the main roads out of town and onto the A1, so we've always been concerned about it."

The advice is to stand about two metres in front of the lorry. | Image: Daniel Jaines
The advice is to stand about two metres in front of the lorry. | Image: Daniel Jaines

“In the mornings and at the end of the day, it can get really, really busy, and there can be a lot of dangers.

“Lots of the time, big lorries are pulling in and out of junctions, and it can be quite a challenging time for everybody, so our goal is to ensure children's safety, particularly as they transition to secondary school.”

The children were taught to maintain a safe distance of around two metres from lorries and shown that around 15 to 20 pupils could fit in front of a lorry without being seen by the driver.

Despite being visible in one of the front mirrors the driver cannot see these children over their dashboard. | Image: Daniel Jaines
Despite being visible in one of the front mirrors the driver cannot see these children over their dashboard. | Image: Daniel Jaines

It wasn’t just safety lessons; pupils also experienced hearing the horn, riding a police motorbike, and taking home a free Vaculug lorry.

The school wants to work with a number of local companies to improve the safety of the nearby road for its pupils, and those leaving to go on to secondary school.

Meanwhile, Vaculug and the Met officers have also offered to work with other schools to teach them more about road safety.

Pupils were shown how to safely cross the road. | Image: Daniel Jaines
Pupils were shown how to safely cross the road. | Image: Daniel Jaines
Pupils also got the chance to sit on a real police bike. | Image: Daniel Jaines
Pupils also got the chance to sit on a real police bike. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Craig Rudkin, national accounts director at Vaculug, highlighted the company’s previous work with the Met Police to raise awareness with customers and drivers and said it was “only natural” to partner with the school.

“A lot of them are walking and cycling to school now, and it’s really about raising that awareness of what an HGV driver can see so that the child can be extra careful around those vehicles,” he said.

“With the increased urbanisation around schools, pupils are growing up in areas where housing is developed and there’s increasing footfall, but not necessarily the infrastructure to cope with that like increased parking.”

Youngsters got to try out the police bikes. | Image: Submitted
Youngsters got to try out the police bikes. | Image: Submitted
They were taught by Met Police officers. | Image: Daniel Jaines
They were taught by Met Police officers. | Image: Daniel Jaines

He said he hoped children would be “extra aware” around blind spots on HGVs.

Metropolitan Police Inspector Richard Wenham and Sergeant Rob Beckers, from the commercial vehicle unit, have now instructed around 60,000 HGV drivers on safety awareness.

That’s nearly a quarter of the 250,000 HGV drivers in the country.

Teachers were sat in the cab and pupils were asked to join each other in front of the van a few at a time until one of them could be seen. | Image: Daniel Jaines
Teachers were sat in the cab and pupils were asked to join each other in front of the van a few at a time until one of them could be seen. | Image: Daniel Jaines

They offer training nationally and internationally

“We want to get that education out to the children, ensure that they’re crossing roads in a safe manner, at a safe distance away from the vehicles so they’re not coming into conflict,” said Sgt Beckers.

“The key thing is not to be complacent around these vehicles, give them respect and distance to stay safe and also to try and get that eye contact with drivers, particularly when you’re crossing so that you can be aware that the driver has seen you,” he added.

Youngsters got to try out the police bikes. | Image: Submitted
Youngsters got to try out the police bikes. | Image: Submitted

Insp Wenham said that seeing an unmarked HGV gave youngsters the chance to put the issues into context.

“It changes behaviours, saves lives, and ensures kids make it home for dinner,” he said.



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