Here’s an outline script for an assembly or lesson discussion to hold on the morning of, or on a day before, the Giant Walking Bus, that you can also intersperse with other road safety learning activities if appropriate. Important: approach discussions about being hurt in road crashes with sensitivity. In particular, if you have a child who has been bereaved by a road crash, you should talk to them and their carer and ask them before any assembly/lesson if they wish to be excluded or take part.
“Later today/this week, we’re going to go on a road safety march. It’s really exciting because children across the country are all walking at exactly the same time to be part of a Giant Walking Bus but also to raise money for a charity called Brake that helps families whose loved ones have been hurt or killed in road crashes. The march is also important because it’s going to help us raise awareness in our town of the danger of traffic and the importance of driving slowly to protect children on foot, as well as the importance of getting people out of cars and walking more to stop smelly pollution.
Can anyone tell me what a Walking Bus is?
(Like a crocodile, holding hands, so we are all safe, with adults supervising)
At 10 o clock on the day of the Walking Bus there are going to be thousands of children walking around the UK at exactly the same time! Can anyone tell me why it’s good to walk, rather than use the car?
(Good for you / less smelly pollution / less traffic jams)
What helps us stay safe when we are walking?
(high visibility bright and light clothes / holding hands / knowing our Green Cross Code) [You could demonstrate the value of high visibility vests by wearing one, drawing the curtains and turning out the lights, and shining a torch on you.]
Who wears high visibility clothing and why?
(People at work on roads, police officers - it helps keep them safe)
Can anyone tell me how to cross a road safely?
(Find a safe place to cross (away from bends and parked cars), stop, think, look and listen, walk straight across) What’s a safe place to cross?
(Pelican Crossing / away from bends / zebra crossing) Do we know any places that are safe to cross near the school? Do we know any places that are dangerous? (discuss local roads)
Sometimes, people get distracted, when they should be concentrating on being safe. What can put us off crossing roads safely?
(Other people talking to us, mobile phones, head sets, electronic games) Can anyone think of any other reasons why people might not cross a road safely?
(In a rush, mucking about in a group)
Our march is part of a campaign for traffic to slow down. Why is fast traffic more dangerous than slow traffic?
(the faster you drive, the less time you have to react to something in the road, and the harder you hit) Has anyone ever been scared of fast traffic when using roads? Tell us your story.
(discuss) Does anyone know the speed limit outside our school? Do we think drivers stick to the speed limit? Can anyone tell me any of the signs or road markings outside our school that remind drivers the school is here, and they should drive carefully? (discuss) What other rules might drivers sometimes break?
(they drive too close to school gates / they drink alcohol and drive / they use mobile phones when driving) This means we have to walk very carefully, because drivers might be about to make a mistake and might not be watching out for us, as well as driving very fast.
Now, road safety is a very serious subject that affects all our lives. What might happen if you were hit by a car?
(Might be killed or have to go to hospital and have injuries)
Sometimes, people seriously injured in crashes aren’t ever the same again. Can anyone tell me how an injury could affect the rest of your life? (May mean they have to use a wheel chair and can never walk again / can’t play football / can’t dance. May mean their brains are injured and they can’t learn any more.)
[Note to teacher: children often think an injury is exciting eg. they get their arm in plaster and friends can write on it. This is an opportunity to explain that injuries are horrible and stop you doing things.]
Name a really big vehicle
Why can bigger vehicles be more dangerous than smaller vehicles?
(Their drivers might not see you because their vehicle is so big and you are so small. They are heavier and can hit you harder.)
Later on we are going to do some fun things in class to educate parents and sisters and brothers about the importance of road safety. We are going to have a poster competition and make a big poster display for our reception and placards to take on our march. Can anyone think of any ideas for images to put on these placards?
(discuss) Does anyone have any more ideas of other road safety activities we could do to help explain to parents and our community that it’s important to drive slowly? (discuss)
We are going to start walking at EXACTLY 10AM. Let’s practice a count down now - count with me 5,4,3,2,1, LET’S WALK!
Now, when we do the walk for real, it’s obviously very important to do it safely. It’s also important to behave because the mayor / local television / police officer / will be there. Now we’re about to practice walking safely around this hall - everyone, get into pairs, hold hands, and get into a line of twos and when I say, I want you to walk sensibly. Let’s practice! [Walk in a big circle round the hall, not talking or messing about.]
Well done! To help us raise money for Brake, we are going to be giving you these sponsorship envelopes (hold up). Get your parents and friends to sponsor you by putting money in the envelope and also signing the back. It’s important to get them to sign the back because that means the charity can claim even more money from the Government. Then bring the envelope back to school on the day of the event.
So well done in advance for helping the school to take part in the Giant Walking Bus, raise awareness of road safety, and help raise money for charity!”