Train Travel and Community Participation

Promoting independence through travel in Sussex

June 14, 2022

Sharon Hunt

Concept and aims

Hazel Court Secondary School is a member of the Southfield Academy Trust, offering provision for young people with Special Educational Needs especially those with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).  They have worked with SCRP in the past and welcomed us back for more rail safety training.  Working together with the teaching and support staff – we wanted to develop valuable life skills and prepare their young students for future independent travel.

What happened

We visited two classes and ran specially adapted workshops focusing on what the students would need to plan and embark upon a train journey and how to keep safe whilst travelling.  As these students had moderate to severe needs, we agreed with the lead teacher at Hazel Court, that the two classes would be split into smaller groups to enable the students to travel safely and gain as much as they could from their travel experience. We ran several trips from Hampden Park to Lewes station.  The students felt very proud to have ordered their own tickets at Hampden Park ticket office and enjoyed exploring Lewes station whilst completing activities such as ‘I Spy at the Station.’ The highlight for many was watching a freight train pass through Lewes station carrying building materials.  Many students were unaware that trains carry many things in addition to passengers!  They were able to practise what they had learned about rail safety and were all very careful to remain behind the yellow line whilst waiting for the outward and return trains. At Lewes, these young people were able to engage in community participation by ordering their own food and drink at the cafe on the platform and speaking to the helpful rail staff at the station.  One student summed his day up as “amazing!” He went on to say that “being independent is important.”



All students ordered their own tickets at the ticket office.
All students ordered food and drink at the station cafe.
All students agreed that they got to meet new people during their trip.
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