Upminster headteacher and parents express views on school run scheme one month on
PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 December 2016
A mixed reaction to a first-of-its-kind initiative which fines parents £100 for dangerous driving around schools, has been expressed one month after its launch.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) have so far been introduced to three schools in the borough, whereby those caught stopping to drop off or pick up their children during the school run within designated PSPO zones, will be handed a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).
Those who do not pay the fine and drivers who offend more than three times may be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 as well as a criminal record.
Havering Council is the first in England to introduce PSPOs in a bid to protect children when arriving and leaving school.
The James Oglethorpe Primary School, Ashvale Gardens, Upminster, was one of the first schools where the scheme was put into action, following a public consultation.
Headteacher Deborah Rowles said: “The difference during the school runs is indescribable. It used to a nightmare, congestion, some parents parking on the pavement, residents and drivers arguing about where they parked. We had so many near misses where children were in danger while trying to get to school but now it’s so calm and peaceful.
“From a school’s perspective, so far it has been wonderful.”
But according to some parents, the issues of parking have simply been moved from directly outside the school to just around the corner.
Mum-of-two Susan McDonald, 40, of Ockendon, said: “The problem is still there it’s just not right outside the school anymore. If I had my way, this would have been a last resort.”
Dad Jonathan Crick, of South Ockendon, said: “The residents by the school no longer have that 20 minutes of madness so it’s been good for them.
“But in some ways it’s still dangerous because parents are further away and some just watch their children walk rather than getting out of their cars. My main concern is that children have to cross a busy road to get to the school.”
Over the past year, Havering Council civil parking enforcement officers issued more than 1,200 tickets outside schools with more than 1,800 visits to 55 primary schools.
Cllr Jason Frost, lead member for the school safety project, said: “There are displacement issues with parents now parking down other roads but it is something that is being looked into.
“I would rather have complaints that we are slightly inconveniencing parents than hear that a child was seriously injured because nothing was done.”