Parents shocked by 'ban' on cycling to Risca school
8:01am Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
Parents say that children at Risca Primary have been banned from riding their bikes to school.
Ceri Jeffries, 32, has three ten-year-olds at the school and says she is shocked the school has taken this decision considering its “eco” status.
Her children normally cycle in a group with four other children, cutting the twenty minute walk down to a five minute ride.
But now she says they cannot bring their bikes on site, and have to chain them outside the grounds if they decide to continue cycling.
Mrs Jeffries said she understood the school bike shed was to be removed.
She said: “The school is an eco- friendly school but has decided that children are no longer allowed to cycle to and from school, even though children have been doing this for years, including myself as a child.”
She said teachers had cited safety concerns, but added the amount of cars near the school was at least as problematic.
Mrs Jeffries said: “As you can imagine this has upset quite a lot of children and their parents. Childhood obesity is on the rise and promoting healthy eating and exercise is a must. What better way to promote this by encouraging children to cycle to school and by doing so reducing the amount of cars, making it safer for children and the environment?”
Rachel Guy, mother of two children at the school, said she met with head teacher Jayne Arthur about the policy. Mrs Guy said: “I said to Mrs Arthur, "It’s absolutely ridiculous." She said it’s a health and safety issue.
“My kids rode yesterday, to make a stand really. I’m hoping they haven’t been told off.”
Mrs Guy and Mrs Jeffries both said they were told the bike shed would be removed to create extra parking spaces for staff.
The school holds a cycling safety course each year when pupils bring their bikes to school for three weeks.
Mrs Jeffries said: “I also asked if safety measures are to be put into place for this short time, why can’t they be put into place permanently? This apparently isn’t an option.”
Head teacher Jayne Arthur said: “We are currently working alongside the council’s Road Safety and Health and Safety teams to review the situation and complete risk assessment and traffic survey of the school site. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our pupils remains our utmost priority, and we are seeking to resolve this issue as soon as possible”.
A spokeswoman for Caerphilly Council said the council did not want to issue an official statement, adding: “I’m aware of the situation. It’s a school policy rather than a Caerphilly-wide policy and it’s at the discretion of the school.”