The Lindfield School is part of the Southfield Trust, providing education to students with varying degrees of Special Educational Needs. When we approached the school, several of the year 11 students were in the process of completing their Lift Training (East Sussex) so our Active Travel offer was a perfect way to complement this travel training in order to develop the skills and confidence needed to travel independently. Most students had previous experience of travelling by train with another adult but several expressed anxieties and concerns about independent train travel.
Our aim was to provide a programme accessible to all students especially those who were less experienced travellers. We worked with two groups of students.
Workshops were adapted to link in with the school’s careers week so the ‘Sustainable/Active Travel’ workshop was delivered first, enabling the inclusion of a careers section with information about a variety of roles on the rail network; from station staff roles, fleet controllers to train drivers and track and maintenance engineers. The ‘Plan a Journey’ workshop enabled the students to look at train timetables, costs and consider what they would need for a rail journey.
The final ‘Rail Safety’ workshop was delivered with a focus on appropriate behaviours and with one group, we looked at a Network Rail safety film to prompt discussions around the dangers of rail trespass.
The training culminated in a train trip from Hampden Park to Eastbourne. For some, this was their first visit to Eastbourne train station. Whilst waiting for the outward train, the students were able to consolidate their knowledge of platform safety; recalling the importance of the yellow lines and tactile paving. They were able to order tickets from the ticket office, and whilst at Eastbourne they purchased snacks, practised using the ticket machine and familiarised themselves with key features of a busy station concourse. Prior to returning, they were able to meet the gateline assistant and train dispatcher and learn about their roles.
The trips were enjoyed by all and the students and staff were keen to travel by train again. One young man stated that this would give him ‘freedom!’ They are now busy planning a trip to Brighton!
"This will help with my travel to college." "I was interested to learn that on diesel trains they have pipes which act like a car exhaust!" "This was really useful for my students to practise what they have learnt in the classroom."