• Durham OnAir

Heroic Tales And Spooky Stories Teach Children The Rules Of The Road



County Durham school pupils teamed up with a local author to create ghostly warnings

and inspirational messages of heroism in a lesson about road safety.


Children’s author Adam Bushnell visited five primary schools across the county to deliver

story writing workshops, designed to get children talking about how to keep themselves

and their communities safer.


Pupils and staff at Benfieldside Primary School; Timothy Hackworth Primary School,

Shildon; Brandon Primary School; St Margaret’s CE Primary School, Durham and St Helen

Auckland Community Primary School got creative with their writing, focussing on two

themes for different age groups.


Adam, who has written such books as ‘The Evil Unicorn of Doom’, fired pupil’s

imaginations during his visits, working with key stage 1 pupils to encourage them to create

their own road safety superheroes, and with older key stage 2 pupils to pen cautionary

ghost stories.


The sessions, organised and funded by Durham County Council’s Road Safety Team,

were commissioned to raise awareness of the council’s Slow to 20 for Safer Streets

programme, which introduces a reduced speed limit of 20mph outside schools. All five of

the participating schools have benefitted from the programme, which has been

implemented at more than 120 of the county’s schools.


Adam said: “It has been my privilege to work with Durham County Council’s Road Safety

team for several years to promote a clear road safety message, which I think is an

essential lesson for young people to learn.


“I wanted to run creative writing sessions that incorporated this message but were also as

fun and engaging for the children as possible. With the older pupils we wrote cautionary

ghost stories where the ghosts haunted the streets to warn others to heed road safety

rules or face the consequences. With the younger pupils, road safety superheroes were

featured, where the hero saves children and teaches them the rules of crossing the road

safely.”


“It was immensely enjoyable to see how engaged the children were and to read the

incredible stories that they wrote.”


Adam has created a video tutorial on how to write a road safety rap using iambic

pentameter for Year 5 and 6 primary aged pupils. The video is available to view at

https://youtu.be/gfq0jMVuk-U and schools can contact road.safety@durham.gov.uk for

classroom worksheets developed by Adam to support the video.


Mrs H Tait, Headteacher at St Margaret’s CE Primary School, Durham, said:

“The staff and pupils really enjoyed Adam's visit, which provided a creative and captivating interpretation of road safety rules, intertwined with a spooky story writing workshop.”


Cllr Elizabeth Scott, the council’s Cabinet member for Economy and Partnerships,

including Strategic Transport, said: “Reducing traffic speeds around schools helps to

create a safer and healthier community.


These school sessions are an innovative and

enjoyable way to educate children about how lower driving speeds can help reduce road

casualties and to teach them the skills they need to become safer pedestrians and

cyclists.”


More information about the council’s Slow to 20 for safer streets programme can be found

on its website at www.durham.gov.uk/slowto20