Switch on to rail safety

Network Rail, in partnership with the rail industry, has launched a new, free educational rail safety programme for children. Closely aligned to key stage levels – for age groups 3 -6, 7-11 and 12 -16 – the Switched On rail safety programme teaches children about the dangers present around the railway and encourages them to develop hazard-spotting skills so they can make the right informed choices when they find themselves on the rail network.

At the younger end of the age range, children are invited to join Switched On travels with Suzi on her journey to the nature reserve. Ironically, Network Rail has released new footage of people deliberately misusing Nature Reserve level crossing in Attenborough in Broxstowe, Nottinghamshire. The footage includes young girls doing handstands on the crossing, as well as people taking selfies on the railway, lying down on the track for photo opportunities or stopping to sit on the crossing – all of which could have resulted in fatal or life changing consequences.

Rupert Lown, Chief Health and Safety Officer said: “This behaviour at Nature Reserve level crossing is absolutely shocking and shows why it is essential that we educate and inform children that is it never safe to stop or hang around the railway tracks. Anyone deliberately misusing level crossings or trespassing on the railway is putting themselves at serious risk of life-changing injury or even worse.

“Switched On is a great one-stop shop that provides useful tools for children of every age and I hope that everyone will make use of the resources – from videos and interactive games to classroom activities and teacher guidance – and help us and the wider rail industry to keep our children safe.”

Switched On has been created by Hopscotch Consulting and carefully designed in line with the requirements of the National Curriculum. Switched On educates young people to understand risk and the importance of informed decision making around the rail network. Using a range of activities and tools – animations, fun classroom activities, interactive games and videos – children will develop a range of skills: learning the importance of staying with an adult and how to behave safely for 3-6 year olds; developing good judgement and decision-making skills for 7-11 year olds; and looking at the impact of peer pressure and challenging group mindset for 12-16 year olds.

It will be used by Network Rail and the rail industry as part of their schools safety engagement programmes, as well as rolled out to schools and educators nationwide. Parents and carers are also able to make to use of this free educational programme by visiting the Switched On website

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