Children petition council to stop parents dropping them off at school gate

Tuesday 24th September 2019 18:14 EDT

Children have declared war on parents dropping off youngsters at the gates of their Isle of Dogs primary school, demanding that Tower Hamlets Council sends in parking wardens to hand out fines.

Three 10-year-olds presented a petition to the town hall and addressed last night's council meeting demanding tough parking restrictions outside Arnhem Wharf Primary.

They formed what was probably the youngest-ever delegation to a council meeting and petitioned the authority to "prevent people parking dangerously in Westferry Road".

Year 6 pupil Fatmata told the councillors: "Parents are parking illegally on yellow lines near the entrance, causing pollution and increasing the chance of accidents."

The young delegates had actions they want the council to take, like sending in traffic wardens when the school opens and at home time to hand out fines, warnings or points to offenders on yellow lines.

Fatmata and classmates Mahdi and Robin had arrived with their headteacher and their Year 6 teacher who co-ordinates Arnhem Wharf's children's rights programme.

Young Mahdi told the East London Advertiser afterwards: "Many parents stop in their cars right in front of our school listening to the radio or using their phones while leaving their engines running, which fills the air with fumes.

"Our first idea was to change the yellow lines to zigzags because you are by law actually allowed to stop on double-yellow lines."

Arnhem Wharf has its own school council to let pupils have a voice in its decision-making.

Headteacher Sarah Haynes told the paper: "We encourage children to debate and to have a voice in the wider community. I don't think they need much training to be the politicians of tomorrow."

The petition was the children's idea, so Year 6 teacher Frances Stephens who is Arnhem Wharf's pupil voice leader arranged the delegation to the town hall.

Tower Hamlets has accepted the children's petition and is to look into better ways to enforce parking controls outside Arnhem Wharf when the pupils are arriving or leaving.

The council is already rolling our a programme to create 50 permanent "play streets" outside primary schools across the East End where cars would be banned altogether. That would solve Arnhem Wharf's problem.

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