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Transport

Tyneside safe travel

A safe travel guide to help young people develop the confidence to use the public transport network, including Metros and buses, is on offer in Tyne and Wear. The guide book was designed by children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome at the Biddick Academy’s Unity Provision, based in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

The local bus and train operator Nexus ran a trial scheme with the Biddick Academy as it wanted to create a bespoke travel safety guide for children with learning difficulties. The pupils put together much of the art work and designed the project’s mascot, a tortoise called Terry.

The focus is on planning ahead, reading a timetable, buying a ticket, using Metro smart ticket machines and being able to ask for help.

Nexus, which owns and manages Metro, plans to use the guide as a teaching aid as part of the many school visits it carries out in order to promote safety.

The 28-page booklet, also online, has a pictorial, cartoon-style, to help the children learn the messages to boost their confidence in using the Tyne and Wear Metro system and buses.

It is also available as an interactive tool so that pupils can access it using a school computer or a tablet PC. This version contains video clips showing youngsters how to use Metro Help Points and the new ticket machines. Nexus reports that it visits 455 schools across Tyne and Wear each year, seeing over 10,000 pupils. The visits range in focus from general travel safety to warning of the dangers of trespassing on the lines.

Nexus Youth Liaison Officer, Rebecca Ditchburn, said: “The children at Biddick Academy have done a brilliant job with the design work and have helped us to create a teaching aid that we can use in all of our school travel safety visits.

“We talked through a range of issues that young people might find daunting about using public transport. They also came up with the idea of having a mascot to navigate through the pages.

“Nexus really wanted to develop a travel safety teaching aid that was specifically tailored for children. We already have one for adults with special needs, but nothing bespoke for youngsters.

“The work we’ve done with Biddick Academy has created a new teaching aid that can be used to help young people of all abilities, right across the region, to learn more about public transport and how to travel safely, the first of its kind in the country.”

Gavin Jackson, Assistant Head Teacher at the Biddick Academy, said: “The work with Nexus has been a fantastic opportunity for the Biddick Academy students to learn about travel safety in a practical way. The booklet has allowed the students to work collaboratively and as a team to share ideas that will hopefully help lots of youngsters who need extra support with independent travel.”

Schools can download copies of the Travel Safe Guide and find out more about travel safe teaching resources at www.nexusteachingzone.org


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