Friday, June 14, 2024



pupils have been lobbying their local

elected representatives for urgent

improvements to road safety outside

their school.

The school’s P6 class, with the support of

their teacher Sharon Kirkland, recently

launched their ‘Fast and Furious’ campaign,

following what was described as “a near-miss

accident” involving their lollipop man.

In November, the pupils conducted a traffic

survey on the Dromore Road, and, over two 15-

minute sessions, recorded 319 vehicles in total.

Surprised by the volume of traffic, the class

agreed there was a need to improve the safety

of children crossing the busy road.

The pupils discussed features that would

improve the safety of the road, and agreed to

put these to their five local councillors in


One pupil’s letter stated: “The problems are

that cars are going too fast past the entrance to

our school.

“Mr Morrow, our lollipop man, has been

clipped many times before and this needs to


Another pupil’s letter read: “I’m not letting

anyone get run over, because people won’t want

to send their children to our school and I love

my school.”

Mrs Kirkland explained that she had been

asked by her class to “do something about the

busy road our school sits on”.

“As you can imagine, this took me by

surprise, as children are not normally

concerned about issues like this at their age, as

they are things for adults to sort out,” she said.

“Schools across the province have been

receiving traffic calming measures to help

protect the children, but, unfortunately, the

children of Ballynahinch are not seen as being

as important.

“There are numerous incidents of dangerous

encounters our now-retired crossing patrol

man has been subjected to over the years.

“These children have a right to be protected.

“These children have a voice and they are

using it now.”

Rowallane DUP councillor Callum Bowsie

visited Ballynahinch Primary School last

Wednesday to thank the P6 pupils for their

letters, and to give them an update on their


“DfI (Department for Infrastructure) Roads

has now agreed to carry out a full road safety

assessment, which will start in the coming weeks,” he said.

“Roads officials have also agreed to assess

the road for a pedestrian crossing, in light of

there no longer being a crossing patrol as of

recent weeks.

“And the school will also be included in a

review of schools currently without a part-time

20mph speed limit.”

The local representative said that the pupils

were “delighted” to hear that his party

colleague, Michelle McIlveen MLA, had

“raised the issue in the Assembly and is

awaiting a response from the Infrastructure

Minister (John O’Dowd), whom we have

invited to the school to accept the pupils’


He also advised that he and his colleagues

are meeting the PSNI this week to discuss the


“I want to commend Mrs Kirkland for

facilitating such a worthwhile and focused

campaign,” Cllr Bowsie concluded.

“The pupils’ letters are superbly written.

“I was really keen for the pupils to meet a

real person who had received their letters, and

to show them what they can and have achieved

so far.

“I also got to hear some of the ideas that

were left out of the letters.

“A zip-line across the street is definitely my

favourite suggestion.”

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