Aims Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • To learn about how to take part in a road safety campaign.
Objectives Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • To understand how campaigning can lead to change
  • To gather and record opinions about road safety using a hands-up survey
  • To help children understand how they can campaign for road safety
  • To prepare to present a manifesto that calls for change to a local decision-maker.
You will need Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • A copy of the Kids' manifesto for safe and healthy journeys provided in your action pack. You can download and print more copies if you need to. Decide how much information to share from the manifesto, depending on pupils’ age and abilities
  • Copies of the hands-up survey, with enough copies for each group of pupils
  • Copies of the poster template, with enough copies for every pupil.

Lesson outline

Road safety campaigning

1. Introduce the idea of campaigning, explaining that a campaign is a set of activities to achieve a change.

Ask pupils whether they know about any local or national campaigns – examples they may have heard of in the news include Greta Thunberg’s School Strike 4 Climate, Black Lives Matter and the Me Too movement.

2. Ask pupils why they think campaigning for road safety is important.

Say that it isn't a very nice thing to hear but sadly more than a million people die on the world’s road every year and injuries from road crashes are the biggest killer of children and young people worldwide.

3. Tell them that no one should be hurt on roads and every one has the right to make safe and healthy journeys, wherever they go.

Talk about why active travel such as walking and wheeling helps people to be healthy and is good for the planet. Remind pupils that for children to make safe and healthy journeys, they need five things: footpaths, cycle paths, safe places to cross, slow traffic and clean traffic.

4. Talk about whether roads near your school / in your community allow children to travel in a safe and healthy way.

5. Ask pupils for ideas about how roads could be made safer near your school. Write their answers on the whiteboard.

6. Carry out a hands-up survey to gather pupils’ opinions about their journeys.

The survey can be done with the whole class or by small groups. If you carry out the survey in groups, come together to record the class results. Remind children that there are no right or wrong answers, this is just to find out what they think and how they feel. Remind them that their opinion is important and you are interested in knowing what they think.

Asking grown ups to help make children’s journeys safe

Ask pupils for ideas for different ways they can ask grown ups to keep them safe near roads. Ask the class to think about the most important issues near your school and use these as the basis for their action. Possible examples could include:

  • Writing a letter to their parent/carer asking them to always drive safely, to keep to speed limits and never use
    their phone when driving (see also the postcard activity)
  • Designing a road safety poster to be displayed at the school entrance
  • Sharing pictures and a message on social media
  • Writing to their local authority or their MP explaining the results of the hands-up survey and asking for 20mph speed limits or cycle paths.

Kids' manifesto for safe and healthy journeys

  1. Explain that a manifesto is a written document that can be used to explain changes that you think need to be made.
  2. Talk about how children have important things to say and their voices should be heard. Explain that anyone can campaign for safer roads, it's not just for grown ups.
  3. Say that Brake, the road safety charity, has written a manifesto to help them ask the people who make decisions about roads near your school to make changes so that children's journeys are safe and healthy.
  4. Explain to pupils that as part of your Brake's Kids Walk activity, you are going to invite an important local person to your school so that they can present your school's manifesto to them.
  5. Explain that this is one way of campaigning for road safety and that lots of children at other schools will be doing the same thing. Brake will also be writing to local newspapers, radio stations and televisions about what is happening.
  6. Show the children the manifesto and read it together in class. You can read it all or just focus on the first couple of paragraphs, depending on children's age and ability.
  7. Explain that you are going to write in the boxes what you need near your school and the names of other people that support you.
  8. Explain what will happen when you present your manifesto.

How to present your manifesto:

  • Write the name of your school in the space provided.
  • Write what would help you make safe and healthy journeys in your area.
  • Ask people who support you to add their names and say why they support the manifesto.
  • Find out the name of the person at your local authority who is responsible for road safety and invite them to join your walk. Invite your local MP to come as well. Explain that after the walk your pupils would like to
    meet them to present their manifesto.
  • Ask children to present the manifesto. They can also hold up the large posters provided in your action pack to reinforce the message that all children have the right to make safe and healthy journeys and that they need footpaths, cycle paths, safe places to cross, slow traffic and clean traffic to enable this.
  • Invite local media to take photos and write about children campaigning for their right to make safe and healthy journeys.
  • Share your story on social media and on your website. Please tag @brakecharity.

At Brake, we have lots of experience of helping people campaign for road safety. If you would like more help and advice about presenting your manifesto, please email You can also read our
guide to community campaigning


Extension activity: a road safety postcard to send home

Activity overview Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • Children will send a road safety postcard home to their parents and carers asking them to keep them safe near roads
Aims Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • To encourage children to become advocates for road safety and call on grown ups to help them keep safe near roads
Objectives Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • To use postcards and letters home to parents to enable children to talk about important road safety issues with their grown ups
You will need Down arrow icon to open accordion
  • The colour-in postcards in your action pack
  • Letters to parents in your action pack

Make as many copies of the postcards and letters as you need. The postcards can be folded in half at the dotted line and glued together, or you can cut the sheets in half at the dotted line and stick each half to a piece of coloured card or paper.

Explain to the children that they are going to take a postcard home to their grown up(s) to ask them to keep them safe near roads.

Show the children the postcard and talk to them about the pictures on the postcard. Depending on ability, ask the children to read the messages aloud, or read the messages to them.

Ask children to colour in the postcard and write their name on the front and back.

Ask them to think about who they want to send the postcard to, and to write their name on the back too.

Ask them to give the postcard to their grown up. Explain that they can tell their grown up there is an important message to read and ask them to display the postcard proudly to show that they understand the importance of keeping children safe near roads.

Explain that you will also be sending a letter home to tell parents and carers about the postcard.

Note: you may need to remind children that they cannot put this postcard in a letter box, unless they put it in a stamped, addressed envelope!