Children unveil road safety banner after car crashes through school fence

Parents, carers and children came together on Friday to unveil new road safety banners outside their school, two months after a car crashed through the fence.

About 150 people gathered outside Judith Kerr Primary School (JKPS), in Half Moon Lane, Dulwich, to install the banners which had been created by children.

Two petitions – signed by 115 parents and 92 children – were handed to Southwark councillors at the event. 

One petition was organised by concerned Year 2 student, Bea Hornsby-Bolton. She said: “Please can we have our school street safer. 

“It would make me a lot happier when I walk to school. And could there be less pollution around our school, it would make me very happy inside”. 

The road safety banner was made by children from Judith Kerr Primary School (Picture: Jane Dutton)

The school has had an air pollution monitor in its grounds since 2021. The monitor’s recordings show morning and afternoon peaks in air pollution, corresponding with the school run, which regularly exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.

Nitrogen dioxide air pollution at the school – which mostly comes from transport and especially diesel – has exceeded WHO guideline limits by more than three times on some occasions, parents said.

The other petition, which came from parents and carers at the school, called for traffic calming and safety measures to be introduced in Half Moon Lane. 

This comes following an incident on Boxing Day 2023, when a car hurtled through the fence of the school before crashing to a stop in a play area that would have been populated with children during term time.

A 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after a car crashed through the school fence on Boxing Day morning (Picture: Dulwich Roads)

The Met confirmed there were no injuries and that a 27-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drink-driving and criminal damage.

After the incident, Celeste Hicks, of Herne Hill Road, who has two children who attend the school, said she had been asking Southwark council for safer road measures to be implemented at the junction of Half Moon Lane and Beckwith Road for more than four years.

“It’s really shocking to see it’s gone up the pavement through the bollards where we have a crossing that my children use every morning,” said Ms Hicks. “We’ve been saying to the council for ages that we think this crossing’s in quite a dangerous place.”

The aftermath of the incident (Picture: Dulwich roads)

Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, Helen Hayes and Dulwich Village ward councillor Margy Newens attended the event and praised all the children who entered the school’s eco council competition to design the banners.

MP Hayes said: “There is more work to do, and we know that. 

“We will keep on working until all of the work that is needed across our area to make it as safe as possible for children to travel to school is done. 

“This is about you as children raising your voices and getting your message out to the wider community.”

Councillor James McAsh, cabinet member for the climate emergency, clean air and streets, said: “We understand the concerns raised by parents regarding air pollution near Judith Kerr Primary School. We’ve already initiated an in-depth study of the traffic issues on Half Moon Lane to identify possible solutions. We expect to receive survey results this spring and plan to meet with the school and parent groups to decide on the best way forward based on evidence.

“Our Streets for People strategy affirms our borough-wide dedication to addressing air pollution and promoting eco-friendly transport options. We’ve made significant progress, including implementing 26 school streets in Southwark, over 4,200 bike spaces, and working with partners on infrastructure improvements to ensure safer and more convenient cycling for all.”

Pictured top: MP Helen Hayes speaking at the event on Friday alongside parents and children of Judith Kerr Primary School (Picture: Jane Dutton)

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