Bridgend Council announces changes to school-drop off points

Bridgend County Borough Council has announced changes to drop-off areas at three schools after they were closed for safety reasons in late November 2021.

The closures were instigated at Brynmenyn Primary School, Pencoed Primary School and Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen following monitoring by council staff which confirmed that the drop-off points were not being used properly by a small number of users.

Multiple incidents were recorded of some drivers exercising poor judgement, making dangerous manoeuvres, travelling at speed, blocking or not using designated parking bays correctly, and ignoring instructions from officers on site.

The schools and the local council initially raised concerns with parents and carers by letter and email, but as the situation did not improve, a decision was taken to limit use of the drop-off zones to staff working at the schools, Blue Badge holders and home-to-school transport vehicles provided by the local authority, and to work with the schools on developing alternative solutions.

Local authority officers met earlier this month with school representatives, the chair of governors of the school governing body and elected members of the council to discuss the closure and its impact on pupils, parents and carers.

As a result of those discussions, the following arrangements have been announced for the three schools, all of which will take effect following the February half-term break:

Brynmenyn Primary School

  • The local authority will reopen the drop-off area for approved users only for the start and end of the school day with restrictions and additional control measures in place.
  • The determination of an approved user will be via an application process that will be communicated to parents and carers separately by the school.
  • The drop-off area will be ‘locked-down’ at the start and end of the school day to restrict the exit of vehicles until it is safe to do so. This means that the number of vehicles able to be accommodated in the drop-off area will be restricted.
  • There will be no general ‘open access’ for parents/carers arriving by private motor vehicle.
  • All approved vehicles must be on-site by the required time. For the start of the school day, this will be between 8.30am and 8.40am. An entry bollard will be erected preventing further access after this time.
  • ‘In-line’ parking will be in place and officers on site will advise where to park. Vehicles will not be allowed to leave under any circumstances until all pupils are safely in the school building. Bollards at the exit of the drop-off will prevent vehicles from leaving.
  • Additional physical restrictions will be in place on site (e.g. speed cushions). Vehicles must drive no more than 5mph in the school grounds, and reversing is prohibited at all times.
  • There will be no option to drop-off Brynmenyn Primary School pupils on the Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen school site (unless by prior arrangement).

Pencoed Primary School

  • The local authority has determined that the use of the drop-off area for the start and end of the school day will continue to be restricted following the half-term break.
  • There will continue to be no general ‘open access for parents / carers arriving by private motor vehicle.
  • Access to the drop-off area is currently approved/controlled by the school for certain categories of pupils, parents/carers (e.g., those accessing the learning resource base and pupils with a physical disability).

Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen

  • The local authority will reopen the CCYD school site for the start and end of the school day, albeit with restrictions and additional control measures in place.
  • Additional physical restrictions on site will include enforcement of exit points to prevent unauthorised entry.
  • Unauthorised vehicles are not permitted to enter the CCYD bus bays. The bus bays are designated for school transport coached, minibuses and taxis.

Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, said: “These updated arrangements will be closely monitored and, if the risk becomes too great, the local authority will not hesitate to put further restrictions in place.

“The situation is not an easy one to manage, and pupil safety remains our number one priority, one which quite rightly takes precedence over all other considerations.

“I would like to thank parents and carers for their patience while we have worked on a solution to the issues experienced with the drop-off areas at Brynmenyn Primary School, Pencoed Primary School and Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen.

“I know that the schools will be grateful for the support of parents and carers in this matter, and I would ask that all those who are arriving by car to please ensure that they drive safely, take other road users into consideration, follow any instructions from staff and officers, and treat them and others with respect.”