Rail safety messages taken to the stage

As the Borders Railway moves closer to becoming a reality, Network Rail has teamed up with the Scottish Youth Theatre (SYT) to deliver 24 rail-safety workshops to over 200 pupils across 12 primary and secondary schools throughout the Scottish Borders and Midlothian.

Pupils From St Peter ’s Primary In Galashiels Enjoy The Scottish Youth Theatre Workshops With Craig Bowman , Communications Manager At Network Rail

The workshops took place during May and June and form part of Network Rail’s on-going commitment to teaching a new generation of railway users about the importance of rail safety.

Craig Bowman, Communications Manager for the Borders Railway project, said:

“These young people will become rail passengers in just a few years, so it is crucial that we engage with them as early as we can so that they learn about safety on a railway, as well as what can be expected as construction gets underway, which is just as important.

“In linking up with SYT, our aim was to find fun ways to capture the pupils’ attention and imaginations, not only about the safety aspects, but also about the exciting opportunities the railway will bring for them. The enthusiasm of the SYT team has certainly helped deliver this and the feedback we have had from the pupils and their teachers has been really positive.

“As the project progresses, we hope to return to the local schools to provide regular construction updates.”

The format of the workshops differed for the varying age groups, with interactive storytelling for younger pupils, and a more interactive format of improvisation and games for the older pupils.

Katriona Wilson, Associate Director- Projects at the Scottish Youth Theatre, and the person who delivered each of the 24 workshops, said:

“When we set out to deliver the workshops, it was important that we found exciting ways to encourage the children to learn and, most importantly, to remember the rail safety messages. The key was to make the workshops as interactive as possible, with the pupils taking on different roles and scenarios to show they understood what we had taught them throughout the day.

“It was an absolute joy to run the workshops and to see how much fun the pupils had during the sessions which showed that it was a great way to get serious safety messages across to a younger audience.”

The school’s involved in the workshops included: Newtongrange Primary, St Andrew's RC Primary, Balmoral Primary, Stow Primary School, St Margarets RC Primary School, Langlee Primary School, Tweedbank Primary School, Glendinning Terrace Primary School, Burgh Primary School, Galashiels Academy, Clovenfords Primary School and St Peter’s Primary School.