Background and situation
Halling Primary School is within 1 mile of Halling Railway Station, an unstaffed station on the Medway Valley Line (Strood – Tonbridge) in Kent. Year 6 children from the school took part in a survey of Halling Station as part of their Smarter Journeys programme – a one year programme for preparing primary pupils to travel actively/sustainably to secondary school.
As a result of the survey, the children put together aowerpoint presentation, that they presented rather bravely to David Statham the Managing Director of Southeastern, at the Kent Community Rail Partnerships Stakeholder Meeting. The childrens’ views were ‘taken on board’ by the representatives present and Southeastern/Network Rail responded by visiting the school with an update on some changes they had already made at the station and those that they were in the process of completing.
Halling Station improvements include:
- potholes filled on the approach road
- lighting and drainage improvements
- damaged stone on the platform replaced
Future plans at Halling Station include:
- deep clean of the station
- a dedicated community notice board for use by pupils of Halling Primary School will be installed
- the bridge will be refurbished
- further improvements carried out to platform shelters, including additional seating capacity.
One child commented with delight when they were told about the plans for Halling Station “I didn’t think we would be listened to!”
Bob Morton, Halling Parish Councillor also attended these meetings and was so impressed by the children’s work at Halling Station that he has agreed to set up a ‘Friends of Halling Station’ Group.
Next Steps and Learning
“Our Year 6 have gained so much during the past year. Making posters, completing surveys, rail journeys, PowerPoint presentations at the Town Hall and being instrumental in bringing about positive change at our local village station,” said Jo Wilkinson, Teaching Assistant for Year 6 Halling Primary School.
On completion of the programme, the pupils gained their Sustrans Superheroes badges- demonstrating that they are confident and safe travellers. At Halling Primary School all the pupils from Year 6 are expecting to travel to secondary school by active and/or sustainable travel, with the vast majority by public transport as a consequence of the work that the Kent Community Rail Partnership has done with the school.
Mike FitzGerald, Chair of Kent Community Rail Partnership said ‘’This was a hugely successful initiative led by the young pupils that not only reaped success and support from all partners but delivered Superheroes who have already planned their smarter journey’s to their new schools in September.”
Jo Wilkinson, Year 6 Teaching Assistant, Halling Primary School said “it brings together all parts of the community and gives the children a sense of pride and awareness of their local environment.”