Gateway and Unity Academies receive school 'buddies' to protect pupils from dangerous parking

‘School buddy’ road signs have been installed at two Blackpool schools in a bid to encourage parents and motorists to drive and park safely around pupils.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:45 pm

Gateway Academy in Seymour Road and Unity Academy in Warbreck Hill Road became the latest schools run by the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) to receive six signs each, after Westcliff Primary Academy had some funded by Bispham councillors Don Clapham and Paul Wilshaw in March.

The signs, which match the schools’ uniforms, will hopefully help tackle the issues of inconsiderate and dangerous parking.

They were paid for by the West Lancashire Freemasons Charity (WLFC).

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L-R: Maureen Harrison, Sue Robinson (headteacher), Tony Harrison (Provincial Grandmaster), Howard Lloyd, John Topping and Steve Kayne with school pupils from Blackpool Gateway Academy with the school buddies. Picture: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media

Sue Robinson, headteacher at Gateway, said: “Because of the position of the school in a cul-de-sac, drivers have to perform a three-point turn to get out and it can be a hazard.

“We’ve had problems with people driving down the road and then doing a three-point turn, right where all the children are crossing the road.

“Cars are coming down the road rather quickly, and it’s been a safeguarding issue for us. But I think these childlike-signs are a bit of a visual aid to people, so they can appreciate that if you bump into one of them it actually could be a child.”

Faye Morton, a parent at Gateway, said: "I walk every day to school with my little boys, and it's bad enough that we're having to go past lots of main roads and cross over, but coming down to the school there are so many cars zooming down because they're running late or the weather's horrible.

Head Boy and Head Girl Lincoln Newton and Darcy McKenna with a school buddy at Blackpool Gateway Academy. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media

"And then because it's only a narrow road, they've got to back up and turn round, and so many times they've backed onto the pavement.

"It's just so dangerous."

Tony Harrison, provincial grand master at the charity, said: “We were very impressed with the signs given to Westcliff Primary Academy and we have lots of members in the Blackpool area so this is something we were delighted to be able to support.

“We support our local communities and local charities wherever we can. We hope this helps to prevent any accidents around the school with the boys and girls attending the Academy.”

Nagesh Smith with a school buddy. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media

John Topping from FCAT added: “I am extremely grateful to the provincial grand master and his team within the West Lancashire Freemasons Charity for their generous donation.

“These signs will help safeguard our young people at key times of the school day.”

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Cole Morton-Calvert with a school buddy. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media
Provincial Grandmaster Tony Harrison from the West Lancashire Freemasons charity with pupils from Blackpool Gateway Academy with the school buddies. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard/JPI Media