As the Governing Body of Hanbury C of E First School, we continue to add our voices and support to action that addresses road safety in and around the village and would welcome being part of any consultation that results in improvements.
As a group we are charged with looking after our school, its staff and families. We have been involved in many campaigns over a number of years, working with the community we are part of, to try and prevent the very worst happening.
Therefore, we were devastated to hear of the recent fatality that happened a few minutes’ walk away from our school. Many of us knew Rhona and are now resolved to increase our involvement and ensure nothing like this happens again.
Our popular school is located on the brow of a hill in a rural location on School Road. The speed limit outside school is a baffling 40mph. We do our very best to protect our staff and families, but we are constantly terrified that one of our own could be hurt or even killed.
Each day, 130 children are dropped off and picked up from our school. Numbers have risen over recent years after we were asked by Worcestershire County Council (WCC) to increase our class sizes.
On approach from the Hanbury Road direction of School Road, there is a single “School” sign, located right outside what is an incredibly busy car park at key times of day. There is one way in and out of the car park, meaning traffic is forced to wait on the road whilst vehicles exit. Drivers are therefore unaware of the potential hazard, right up until they are on the scene and often have to take evasive action, crossing onto the wrong side of the road, endangering themselves, oncoming road users and pedestrians.
We have been told by WCC that the sign cannot be moved and that additional signage cannot be added. The reason for this is unknown.
The 40mph speed limit is something we continue to press for change. There is no other school in the county where this is the same and we would implore those who are able to address this as a matter of extreme urgency. Most schools have a 20mph speed limit outside their site and nearby Feckenham has effective traffic calming measures, despite there being no school on the road through the village.
School Road is used as a cut-through between Droitwich and Redditch, with regular users’ complacency meaning the limit is often exceeded. This is compounded by the fact that there are sections of the lane where the national speed limit applies, requiring drivers to slow down on approach. A significant number do not, but even if they do comply, the brow of the hill means that drivers’ vision is restricted and the ability to stop quickly almost impossible.
We are active members of the community, often visiting Hanbury Church, the village and exploring our beautiful surroundings. Staff are incredibly careful when walking along lanes or crossing roads. Whilst teachers also ensure children are taught what action they can take to keep themselves safe when out walking, their endeavours are in vain if road users continue to be allowed to drive at excessive speeds on roads throughout the local area.
Surely now, if no action is taken and another serious incident occurs, there can be no justification as to why changes were not made. The thought of our school and our community losing another mother, a father, son, daughter or classmate is simply too awful to contemplate.
Aaron McDonagh: Headteacher
Milton Bowers: Chair of Governors
Ron Spencer: VIce Chair of Governors
Governing Body: Jenny Bottrill, Mark Bishop, Bridget Weaving, Donna Halford, Antonia Shaw, Paul Morris, Viv Findlay, Penny Riddle, Amanda Szuszman