Hertfordshire brings road safety education to the online environment

Nearly 8,000 primary school pupils across Hertfordshire have received road safety education online since the start of the 2020 autumn term, thanks to the innovation of the county’s Active and Safer Travel Team.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen those responsible for the delivery of road safety education unable to visit schools and deliver interventions.

To enable work to continue, Hertfordshire County Council’s Active and Safer Travel Team began bringing their primary school activities to the online environment.

Using Microsoft Teams, trials were conducted with Nursery, Reception, Year 1, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 pupils – where the importance of two-way audio-visual communication became clear.

Following positive feedback from the teachers involved, the initiatives were rolled out at the start of the 2020 autumn term.

Since then, online road safety education has been provided to 7,846 pupils in 92 schools.

Chi Ming Lai, sustainable travel officer, said: “Following the lockdown, although a limited return to schools was possible in June 2020, due to social distancing and the need to maintain safety bubbles, we were unable to visit primary schools to deliver our usual road safety initiatives.

“An innovative solution was required and this involved exploring the various online meeting software tools that were available and now coming into their own to enable work to continue despite challenging circumstances.

“Colleagues within Hertfordshire County Council, particularly the driver training team, proved to be helpful in sharing their experiences of getting the speed awareness courses for the public into an online format.

“One thing noted during the trials was that although a two-way audio visual communication was essential, classroom-based spontaneity would not be possible due to the time delays and technical cut-outs inherent in online transmission.

“The two-way communication was achieved pupils being asked to walk up by the class teacher to the master laptop computer camera to speak to the sustainable travel officer to give their answers, before they returned to their desk and the class discussion continued.

“This worked well within the limitations and pupils enjoyed this quite different method of interaction and teachers reported that they were happy with this.

“The trials conducted were very satisfactory with positive approval from the teachers involved. The initiatives were rolled out after the start of the 2020 autumn term.”