Parents and carers are responsible for a student's travel to and from school. Schools take over responsibility and duty of care for the student once they enter the school premises.
Benefits of safely walking to and from school
Benefits of safely walking to and from school helps:
- reduce traffic
- reduce our carbon footprint
- promote physical activity
- provide an opportunity for supervising adults to talk with their child about road safety.
Schools want their students and community to be safe.
Every school's surrounding traffic environment is different. Every school's entry and exit rules for students are different and are therefore managed differently.
Sometimes the busy roads and conditions around the outside of the school can impact student safety.
What is taught about being a safe pedestrian?
Schools want their students and community to be safe. Safe pedestrian behaviours are taught as part of the Personal Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) K-10 syllabus.
Key road safety messages for primary aged students have been developed by Transport for NSW to ensure consistent messages for children across NSW.
Transport for NSW's Safety Town is an online primary school resource that provides teaching and learning activities which reinforces being a safe pedestrian, as part of the NSW K-6 PDHPE syllabus.
High school students explore the importance of safe decision making when on and near the road, and following the safety advice.
Safety obligations for schools, parents and carers
As part of their overall care for students, schools often work together with their community to agree on guidelines for arriving and departing school safely.
- primary aged students are safest when they are supervised by an adult.
- older students need to be aware of the road rules and safety advice when walking to and from school independently.
Schools can refer to the Department's legal advice about walking - Duty of care and behaviour management - questions about road safety (staff only)
Walking advice for parents and carers
Always hold your child's hand when walking on the footpath, in the car park and when crossing the road - until they are at least 8 years old.
When your children are between 8 and 10 years old, supervise them very closely when they are near traffic and crossing the road.
Children are vulnerable in the traffic environment and need adults to assist them in the traffic environment.
When you decide to let your child walk to and from school by themselves, plan the journey together. Practise and model being a safe pedestrian by:
- keeping to the left of the footpath
- being aware of vehicles coming in and out of driveways
- not using or being distracted by mobile devices
- not being led or distracted by friends
- discussing a safe, alternative way home in wet weather
- showing respect to other pedestrians
- meeting your child on the school side.
Encourage your child:
- to always use a safe place to cross the road such as a pedestrian crossing, traffic lights or a school crossing, if available
- to check for turning vehicles before they cross the road and driveways
- when there is no footpath or nature strip, walk facing the oncoming traffic, as far from the traffic as is practicable, and in single file
- never to assume that a driver can see you or will stop for you
- to make eye contact with a driver so they know the driver has seen them
- to wait till the driver has completely stopped their vehicle before they cross the road or driveway.
Remind your child when crossing the road to always:
STOP! one step back from the kerb
LOOK! continuously both ways
LISTEN! for the sounds of approaching traffic
THINK! is it safe to cross.
Refer to the department's parent and carer information about safe travel - When can I let my child travel to and from school independently.
Walking school bus
A walking school bus is a group of primary school children who walk to and from school along a set route, accompanied by supervising adults. One adult drives at the front of the 'bus' while the other adult supervises at the rear of the 'bus'. The walking school bus picks up passengers along the way at designated bus stops on the way to and from school.
Transport for NSW's Safety Town information for families about pedestrian safety, gaining independence