Students from Dove House School Academy have become the first in the country to gain accredited rail safety qualifications as part of a new safety initiative from Network Rail.

The students worked with Network Rail’s Wessex route community safety team to design their own rail safety campaigns and present to their peers at Dove House School Academy in Basingstoke.

The participants were tasked with identifying a target audience before planning, organising and delivering a campaign to raise awareness of risks on the railway and promote safe behaviour.

Dove House School Academy's Post 16 provision aims to provide a unique and valuable learning experience for 16-19 year-olds with special educational needs.

Marcia Burnett, community safety manager for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said:

“I’m delighted with our link up with Dove House and the feedback we’ve had on this new initiative.

“Delivering the rail safety message peer to peer is vital in our efforts to reverse the upward trend of youth trespass on and around the network, and this rail safety qualification puts young people at the heart of creating a safer railway for the community.

“The students now have a real sense of being ambassadors for rail safety among their peers which is fantastic to see, and I’m looking forward to taking this programme to other schools across the region.”

Hannah Stroud, head of Dove House School Academy Post 16, said:

“The benefit of young people being able to share information and inform each other of the dangers of railway lines, far outreaches the impact that we as adults and educators could have.

“We believe that because the message about safety is coming directly from young people that these lower school pupils look up to and respect, the content will be retained and hopefully will help to keep everyone safe. 

“It's been a fantastic and creative initiative from Network Rail and we've been so glad that our learners were selected to take part.”

The nine students visited Network Rail’s Basingstoke Campus on Monday 13th May and were given a tour of the facility which serves as the heartbeat of the South Western Railway network. 

They were also presented with the new ASDAN accredited rail safety certificates by David Smith, head of safety for Network Rail, and Don Wilson, principle officer from the Office of Rail and Road.

ENDS