Head defends use of scooter permits at Worthing school

Children at the school on their scooters
Children at the school on their scooters

THE head teacher of a school which introduced training sessions to help pupils scoot more safely said he was surprised to learn the plans had been criticised.

Thomas A Becket Middle School started the lessons on the back of complaints that some students were scooter- ing unsafely.

The one-hour lessons for students who wanted to scoot to and from school combine practical skills, such as safe braking, and improving children’s road awareness.

Those who complete the sessions gain permits, which they need in order to be allowed to scoot to the school, in Glebeside Avenue.

But the idea drew criticism from the Daily Mail, which said parents had called the plans “unworkable”.

Head teacher John Gadd said he had been in France when he saw the Daily Mail article.

He said: “I was really surprised it went in that direction. If I’m being accused of being too concerned about the health and safety of children at the school then I’m happy with that.

“We had one or two complaints about small groups of older pupils about how they were scootering.

“There were concerns some of them weren’t paying enough attention to roads.

“We started working with PSCOs and contacted the county council to get their scooter safety package for all the kids who wanted to scoot.”

The school started the classes in March, and so far more than 100 children have already gained their permits.

The classes are done every half-term, as and when children want to be able to scoot to school.

Contrary to other reports, Mr Gadd said PSCOs would not take away permits if they saw children scootering unsafely.

Instead, they will give them encouragement if the children are being careful and considerate and point out to them if they are not.

However, children could have their permits taken away by the school if they scootered unsafely, but Mr Gadd said that had not happened yet.

He added that since the plans had been introduced there had been no complaints and children had been scootering more safely.

He said: “The permit idea was about saying you have responsibility to make sure you are trained and safe and you have responsibility to scoot safely and be considerate to other people.

“I have no problem taking a permit away if you don’t want to scoot carefully.

“We haven’t had a single complaint and, God willing, we’ve had no accidents.

“The proof of its success has been in its results.”

Mr Gadd said the classes, which combine a mixture of classroom learning and practical training, had also been well received by students.

He added: “The children are being sensible about this and it’s a good, fun session for them.

“We spend an afternoon and the children have had a good time and learned a lot.

“The scootering seems to be much safer and we’ve had no complaints, and, touch wood, no accident.

“So hopefully, there’s the proof.”