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Poots urges schools to offer road safety courses

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Environment Minister Edwin Poots today urged schools to offer pupils courses promoting road safety.

The Minister issued the call as he visited Kilkeel High School, where he witnessed road safety education initiatives at first hand.

Mr Poots joined pupils studying for a GCSE in Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies and also witnessed a demonstration of moped riding by Year 12 pupils.

He said: "It is essential that our young people are given the skills to help keep them safe on the roads.

"That is why my Department promotes and supports the teaching of the GCSE course, which provides young people with the opportunity to become better informed and more responsible road users at a time when they are about to start driving."

The Minister praised the principal and staff of the school for making road safety awareness among their pupils a key priority.

He added: “If teachers set aside just a few minutes on a regular basis to talk about road safety they might just save a child’s life. I also urge more schools to include road safety in the timetable.

"I recognise the pressures that teachers face daily and that is why my Department provides a range of road safety teaching materials and resources with links to the curriculum. These are available to all schools from my Department’s Road Safety Education Officers."

Notes to editors:

1. The Department of the Environment actively promotes and supports GCSE Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies (MVRUS).

2. The specification was designed to prepare students in Northern Ireland to become better and more informed road users and subject content covers:

Vehicle control and road user behaviour;

· Legal requirements;

· Road transport and its effects on society;

· Motoring mathematics;

· Accident procedures;

· Motor vehicle technology.

The section on vehicle control and road user behaviour includes practical moped skills training and a roadside investigative study.

3. Kilkeel High School is one of around 88 post-primary schools timetabling MVRUS in the 2009/2010 school year. It has approximately 718 pupils. There are 32 students in Year 11 in the first year of the course and one Year 12 class of 12 students in the second year.

4. All media inquiries should be directed to the Department of Environment Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned