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New primary school rail safety programme launched

New primary school rail safety programme launched

Rail safety education in schools received a major push today with a nationwide launch of new curriculum based online rail safety resources.

The resources were launched by the Hon Michael Woodhouse, Associate Transport Minister, at Newmarket Primary School in Auckland.

The NZ Transport Agency’ s Director of Rail, Celia Patrick, says the resources will help New Zealand children learn to stay safe near trains and tracks, particularly in the Auckland region.

“The introduction of electric trains into our biggest city brings with it significant safety risks, so it is a good time for schools to be considering including rail safety into their yearly curriculum planning,” Ms Patrick says.

The new electric trains will be quieter and faster and will be powered by overhead wires carrying electrical energy 100 times more powerful than what is used in houses. “This electricity can jump or arc across the air – a remarkable fact that has implications for safety.”

Ms Patrick says the resources are also relevant to schools in rural or other urban non-electrified areas in New Zealand. They have learning experiences which are linked to the New Zealand curriculum in Levels 1 to 4 in English, Science, Maths and Social Sciences.

Newmarket School will be one of the first schools in the country to implement the resources into their school curriculum. Principal of the school Dr Wendy Kofoed says the resources focus on the concept of citizenship.

“For example, as part of their learning students may be asked to describe and explain what actions citizens need to take to keep everyone safe around the rail network, and back up their opinions with reasons and evidence.”

TrackSAFE NZ Manager Megan Drayton says the rail safety charity is delighted that schools have access to such a valuable resource.

“International best practice notes that the best way support students to learn and take action about road and rail safety is to contextualise this learning within the school curriculum.
“We’re excited to see that some schools are already choosing rail safety as a priority and look forward to assisting more schools with their safety programmes,” she says.

The rail safety resources were written by educator Pam Hook with the help of a reference group which included representatives from Newmarket School, NZ Police, KiwiRail, Transdev Auckland, Auckland Transport and TrackSAFE in New Zealand and Australia.

They are freely available on the NZ Transport Agency education portal https://education.nzta.govt.nz/resources/primary/rail-safety and teachers can adapt them to suit student needs.


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