PLANNING THE ASSESSMENT
ENGAGE THE SCHOOLS
After identifying the schools that will be assessed as part of the project, the team must establish contact with the school principal and the wider school community to explain the project’s aims. This means clearly stating the project objectives, listening to their input and gaining their support. The school community must fully understand the potential benefits of the project and how they can be involved.
APPROACH THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Contact with the school principal to offer a respectful introduction to the project is the first step. It is helpful to provide an overview that explains the purpose of working to improve school zones, how this particular school has been selected, what the objectives are and what strategies will be utilized to meet them.
When approaching a school, be open and transparent. Be sure to listen to any specific concerns or constraints the school might have and actively seek to incorporate their valuable input into the project.
It is also worthwhile discussing opportunities to disseminate the project and engage the wider community (e.g. local communication channels with parents, students and neighbours such as school community events and meetings, local press etc.).
RIGHT OF IMAGE AGREEMENT
During the school zone project, the team will collect images to register the locations assessed, illustrate the project and monitor progress after any upgrades are implemented. Collecting ‘before and after’ pictures, taken from the same angle and same location, is a great way to demonstrate the results of the project to stakeholders.
Before collecting these images, the main stakeholders must grant any appropriate permissions to register and use the images for the purposes of the project. Always check the school policy and obtain signatures to formalise consent from the school community. The team must also comply with legal and ethical rules such as child protection policies when images may include students.
APPROACH THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY
The school community is an important ally of any school zone project. Communicating with parents and the surrounding neighbours gives a good opportunity to amplify the voice of the project and gather public support for making positive changes to the road safety profile of the area. They are key to endorsing the project and strengthening the advocacy strategies to secure political commitment.
These stakeholders are also a valuable source of information to complement the data that is collected and support the conclusions of its analysis. After establishing a positive relationship with the school principal, it will be easier to plan how to approach the school community and decide how to engage them in the projects.
The school community, including the students, can actively participate in meetings, surveys and focal groups to provide valuable support and feedback, such as:
- share their risk perception around the school
- discuss scenarios of intervention
- help to promote safe road infrastructure concepts among the community
- support advocacy activities pushing for political and financial support