accessibility & help

Walking to school

A girl crosses the road whilst listening to headphones

Use the activities in this online resource to help children understand risk, risky behaviour and how to keep themselves and others safe when walking to and from school. 

Age range: 10-11 years old

Learning objectives

Children are able to:

  • Understand what makes something risky
  • Minimise risky behaviour
  • Stay safe when walking to and from school unaccompanied
  • Use first aid to help someone who has broken a bone 
  • Get help in an emergency 

Starter: Taking a chance? 

1. Arrange learners into groups of 4-6 and give each a set of images

Ask them to study the images and see if they can identify examples of risky behaviour – where the people in them may be ‘taking a chance?’ 

2. Take each of the images in turn and invite whole group comment and reflect on them (perhaps going to each group for one image and allowing others to add to their ideas).

3. Staying in their groups ask learners to identify a situation where they may have taken a chance and done something that was risky.

[Note that learners may see some risk as fun or exciting. This should be enabled, providing the ideas do not become silly or about showing off – some may see risk as cool, which will be covered later].

Raising awareness: recognising risk

4. Using the examples from the images and their discussions ask learners ‘what is risk and how do we recognise it?’

The key is not to identify more examples of risk, but to begin to recognise what makes something risky - the ingredients of risk. Ideas that may come up include:

  • Being in a rush

  • Doing something without the right equipment

  • Not concentrating properly

  • Not thinking about others around you

  • Trying to show off to others

5. Ask learners to think about ‘everyday risk’ in their lives. This could include risks at home, at school and at play. 

Still in their groups give each group the example Risk Diary

Make sure they understand it and then ask them to work through their day identifying the risks they can think of. [Emphasise these are real risks that may be faced not made up ones.] 

6. If they did not identify road traffic as one of the risks in their diary then introduce this as a risk that many young people face every day. 

Introduce the idea that as they get older they may begin to travel to school on their own and so even if they don’t face this risk now, they may in the future.

7. Continuing to work in their groups give each group the Road Risk Signs sheet. 

Ask them to choose one sign and to identify the road traffic risks linked to their particular sign. They could re-draw their chosen road sign on a piece of A3 paper and write associated risks around it. 

Ask each group to share the risks they identified for their chosen sign. Invite others to add to the ideas once each has been presented. 

8. Look to see if learners identified risk to others as well as to themselves. If they did then build on this. If they did not then introduce the idea that taking chances and risky behaviour around road traffic can also present risks to others.

Use these Risk Perspectives from a single road traffic incident to develop this awareness. 

This could be done by reading each perspective to the whole group, or by asking for some volunteers to take a role and present their perspective.

The key here is to broaden understanding and awareness of risk. Bad choices can have negative outcomes for other people, not just the individual making the choice. Similarly, good choices (like the kid who waits at the lights) can make sure those around us are also safe. 

Extension / alternative: You could use drama here, giving out the perspectives to create freeze frames in groups of four. Learners need to decide roles, and create a still image of the moment being described. Characters can then be called upon to relax out of position and present their perspective to the group. A further development of this would be to add a freeze frame before the incident and one afterwards, to show the whole moment and how it affected each character. 

Taking action: avoiding risk, staying safe

9. Keeping learners in their groups, ask the children to create ‘Get to school safe’ posters. 

Children could link these to the risk signs created by groups earlier in the session and think about behaviour and actions that could be taken to avoid those risks. 

The poster can use pictures and/or words and lists (do’s and don’ts etc). 

Extension: To further build risk avoidance skills, learners could revisit their Risk Diary from 5 above and identify how to avoid or limit each of the risks they identified.

Taking action: when things go wrong

10. Introduce to learners that unfortunately people sometimes engage in risky behaviour around roads and that this can lead to people getting hurt or even killed. Refer back to the Risk Perspectives in 8 above and what might have happened.

Show this short (40 second) animation about road safety. [This example shows a young person crossing the road and ending with a broken arm. It is not graphic but as with all suggested clips please check before using.]

Show the animation again, but this time stop it at 25 seconds (just after the word ‘unfortunately’). Ask learners to imagine they are in the animation. They have just seen the boy get hit by the car. 

What would they do?

It is important to emphasise in an emergency situation, children should keep safe and get help

  • When helping others they must keep themselves safe [Look around for danger. Think about whether it is safe to help. You should not help if you are going to put yourself at risk. Wait until it is safe to provide help]
  • Get help: tell an adult and call 999 [check learners are familiar with the 999 number and with what services to ask for (may need ambulance for the patient and police to make the scene safe for example). They should also know to stay calm and give information about the patient and the location when asked].

We know from the animation that in this case the boy has a broken arm. 

Ask learners if they know what to do for someone with a broken bone? 
  • Check the area is safe – look around.

  • Tell them to keep the injury still.

  • Support the injury to stop it moving – using their hand, clothes or cushions

  • Tell an adult AND call 999

  • Remember: keep the injury still and support it. 

For interactive activities which can help you teach first aid to primary students go to our Life. Live it. first aid education for children website

Closing reflections: Personal Risk Plan

12. To close the session, give learners a Personal Risk Plan and get them to think individually about their own journey to school. 

This could be the journey they take now, or it could be the journey they will take when they move up to the next school. 

Ask them to work through the plan using their learning and to fill it in as best as they can.

If you think learners are not able or ready to do this then alternatives could be to:

a. work through it together as a class [this would work well if all (most) learners are moving up to the same school].

b.   give it as a homework activity and ask learners to complete it with their parents/carers

c. organise a guided walk from school to the new school and work as a class to identify risks and actions along the way [this may depend on location and staffing].


This resource was written by Rob Bowden and Rosie Wilson of Lifeworlds Learning and published in September 2014.

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