Tyrrells Primary had been looking for a solution to the problem of traffic on the road immediately outside school at drop off time in the mornings for some time due to problems associated with congestion. Tavistock Road is narrow and fills up with cars parking on the school side, essentially turning it into a single lane road. Once cars are parked it becomes impossible to see if there is any oncoming traffic, so cars frequently come to a standstill as they meet in the middle and tempers become frayed. Parents also have a habit of double or sometimes treble parking and leaving their car briefly to walk their child into school, therefore completely blocking all movement on the road. Other parents park on the lawns of the privately-owned bungalows opposite school, upsetting the local neighbours. Due to the congestion, it became very difficult to see children walking on the paths or children trying to cross the road. Something had to change before an accident happened.
The school was contacted by the South Essex Parking Partnership and a joint project was developed between them and our School Council on how the situation could be improved. We spent approximately a year working on the School Parking Initiative, generating ideas and looking at and developing different resources.
Finally, in February 2017 we were ready to introduce 3PR to the school and wider community. This began with an assembly led by the School Council where they explained to the children and staff how the project would work and an introduction to the 3PR character. At the end of this day each child was then given a 3PR badge to wear. Various letters, pamphlets, tweets and emails were sent home to parents and the local residents so that everyone was fully informed. Large banners were attached to the school fence and smaller signs fixed to a variety of street furniture along the designated 3PR zone. As parents walked into the school reception they were also greeted by two more large information banners explaining everything about the 3PR project. It became a very high profile project and on the launch day we were lucky enough to be visited by various Councillors and representatives from the Schools Parking Initiative team, where lots of promotional photographs were taken.
The School Council man the 3PR patrol on a half termly rota, as we need two children at either end of the road and also two staff members, ranging from teachers and Learning Support Staff to School Governors. The 3PR Parking Patrol takes place once a week (on unannounced days), although when we initially launched the project we patrolled each day for a couple of weeks. The children and staff wear bright tabards with the 3PR logo on and blue baseball caps with the logo as well, so they are easily seen by all and carry buckets containing the colourful 3PR tokens. As a school child passes by the 3PR patrol, providing they have walked, scooted, cycled or parked away from the designated zone, they then collect one 3PR token. The token is then taken into class where there is a 3PR collection box. At the end of the week the box is emptied, the tokens counted and the scores are recorded for each class. Each month there is an assembly where the class with the most tokens wins the 3PR trophy. The children enjoy the competition and if a parent dares to park in the designated 3PR zone they are quickly met with moans and complaints from their own child. The use of children to educate the parents is a powerful device and is very effective. All the resources that we have used are of a high quality and are very appealing to children and parents alike.
The 3PR project has been a big success and could not have been possible without the support of the Schools Parking Initiative. The outcome means that in the morning the road outside school is a much quieter and a much safer place to be whether or not it is a 3PR patrol day.
View of School Governor
I am a school governor, parent and local resident. I live on the same road as the school, so I am very aware of the parking and traffic problems along the road and can see the great difference during the school holidays. From the point of view of a resident I can see the difference the scheme has made, it is significantly quieter on a day when the 3PR patrols are out and I do think that it is generally quieter and parents are more aware of how to park responsibly even when the patrols are not out.
The materials provided were very good, colourful and straight forward. The children brought home a leaflet beforehand explaining the scheme to the parents and we also distributed these to local residents so they knew what was going as well.
I have worked with the School Council and know from my own children how seriously they take the problem of traffic outside the school. They are very enthusiastic about their implementation of the scheme and want to see it carried out fairly. We have also had feedback from parents saying what a good idea it is. The idea of a scheme that rewards the good behaviour and is implemented by the children who exert an influence on the grown-ups is a good one. We would not hesitate in continuing with this scheme and recommending it to other schools.