Can $2000 make a difference?
This was the question SDERA posed when initiating the School Road Safety Education Grants 2009 -2010. Educating young people to be responsible, compliant road users and to become advocates for this behaviour, is a critical part of a safe system approach. Fostering shared responsibility, building relationships, partnering with the community and ensuring best practice, are also pivotal to the WA Road Safety Strategy Towards Zero. With this in mind, SDERA invited Western Australian schools to apply for a $2000 grant. 44 schools completed an Expression of Interest. Grants were offered to 12 schools whose applications endorsed a whole-school approach, addressed the Health Promoting Schools Framework, promoted the Principles of School Road Safety Education and supported the Towards zero strategy. One of the outputs for the funding was the completion of a pre and post questionnaire, and the development of School Road Safety Guidelines using Getting it Together (SDERA 2009). The research based resource assists schools to develop Guidelines and Action Plans in order to assess, plan and implement road safety initiatives. Only three of the grant schools had existing Guidelines. Analysis of the data from the questionnaires, and an examination of the case studies indicated that providing grant opportunities to schools elevated road safety as an issue and encouraged school community engagement. Funding was provided as a vehicle to 'kick-start' specific initiatives to meet the identified needs of the school community. Additionally, schools stated that they experienced increased connectedness between the school, the parent body and the wider community.