Sunday, 17 August 2008

Parking - Park Place Nursery and Primary Schools

With the new school year about to commence this coming week and following concerns raised with me by parents, I met with the Head of Primary Education of Dundee City Council on Friday past regarding parking and dropping off arrangements at Park Place Primary School and the adjacent Nursery School.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education recently highlighted concerns about traffic and parking in the vicinity of the school and I am concerned to ensure that the City Council looks at all potential options for improving the situation, given the concerns from parents of children at both the nursery and primary schools.

I was pleased to learn that the Education Department is proactively looking at the issues and has indeed established a working group of cross-department senior officers to look at the issues affecting parking/drop off of pupils at schools across the city, as there are clearly issues at many schools in Dundee. In addition to specific measures at Park Place and at other school locations, the working group is insisting that each school sets up its own Travel Plan to encourage safe and active routes to and from school.

Park Place is a particularly difficult site, given its congested location and very limited drop-off facilities. A pilot drop-off facility to the rear of the school attempted last year was not well-used and resulted in the loss of play area, so I was anxious to learn what additional steps the Education Department will consider to ensure safe drop-off and collection of children from both the nursery and primary school.

Parents have been concerned about the speed of some vehicles in the vicinity of the school and that any badly parked vehicles made it difficult for parents and children to see to safely cross the road. I was given an assurance that I'll be kept updated on any further measures the Council’s Working Group arrives at and will be meeting with the new Head Teacher of Park Place Primary on appointment to discuss how any measures can be specifically applied at Park Place for the benefit of pupils and parents.

Pupil safety at schools is of paramount importance, as highlighted in the recent HMIE report, and I will be keeping a close eye of the situation with the onset of the new term this week.