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About School Streets

A car-free environment at a small number of schools across the county.


The aim is to improve safety for vulnerable road users, improve air quality, encourage healthier school travel, and reduce impacts on the school’s neighbours by preventing rat-running, congestion from parents/carers driving to the school gates, and unsafe parking. By creating a safer street environment, children can boost their confidence in walking/wheeling cycling, scooting or other active travel options without relying on a motor vehicle. 

This in turn may encourage parents and carers to choose physically active travel options for the school journey. This will increase physical activity levels, which can improve physical health and help to reduce obesity rates in the county; help pupils to feel more energised in the mornings and more ready to focus on their studies; and offers more opportunity for parents/carers and children to socialise on the school run, boosting wellbeing and sense of community. 


The School Streets programme is part of our Travel to School policy which was approved at a Cabinet meeting on 21 June 2022 (see report, item 13,) as part of our countywide Local Transport & Connectivity Plan. This policy contributes to our vision to make “walking, cycling, public and shared transport the natural first choice.”  

School Streets is funded by the Department for Transport’s active travel initiative. It was first launched under an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO) in 2021. Nine schools in Oxfordshire participated in the six-week trial (pdf format 1Mb).

  • Bure Park Primary School – Bicester
  • East Oxford Primary School – Oxford
  • Larkrise Primary School – Oxford
  • St Christopher’s CE Primary School – Oxford
  • St Ebbe’s CE Primary School – Oxford
  • St Edburg’s CE Primary School – Bicester
  • St Nicolas CE Primary School – Abingdon
  • Tower Hill Primary School – Witney
  • Windmill Primary School – Oxford

A lead steward, assisted by volunteers from the school and the local community, managed and marshalled the road closures by operating temporary barriers and opening them for exempt vehicles. The volunteers were coordinated by local active travel groups: Sustrans, Liveable Streets and Active Oxfordshire.

Four schools wished to make their schemes permanent from September 2022. This was open to public consultation in summer 2022 and their permanent School Streets are now being progressed.

The remaining schools will continue to be offered support to look at alternative measures for traffic calming, reducing problem parking and improving both air quality and the surroundings outside their school to make it safer and more appealing to walk and cycle.

These measures include – but are not limited to - cycle training, the walking, wheeling and cycling WoW scheme, Footsteps road safety training, Street Tag, and Park and Stride.


Between 13 July to 26 August 2022, Oxfordshire County Council consulted on two proposals regarding the four schools to gauge public support for:  

  • Making the School Streets permanent (under a TRO).
  • Enforcing the School Street’s using ANPR cameras. 

Our consultation survey has now closed. To share your views with us or ask any questions email schoolsactivetravel@oxfordshire.gov.uk

The results of the public consultations for both the permanent implementation of School Streets at the four schools, and for the enforcement to be conducted using ANPR cameras going forward, showed widespread support.  

  • 88 per cent of responders fully or partially supported making the School Streets permanent 
  • 85 per cent of responders fully or partially supported enforcing these School Streets through ANPR cameras   

Decision and implementation

On 8 September 2022 (see report, item 4) Councillor Andrew Gant, Cabinet Member for Highways Management approved both proposals, and the four School Streets are being made permanent with ANPR enforcement.  

Topics raised during the consultation

Several issues were raised by the public during the consultation. 

The potential to displace traffic and parking to other areas

Evidence from existing School Streets schemes suggests that while some school-run traffic may be displaced to the areas outside the School Street during its operating times, ‘traffic evaporation’ - i.e., car trips swapped for walking, cycling, scooting and public transport - is also likely to occur, therefore reducing the overall volume of school run traffic.

Our parking team will closely monitor the parking impacts to see if there is a negative impact on parking elsewhere.

Pupils may become less conscious of road safety

All pupils are offered the Footsteps Road Safety education resource. Footsteps is designed to help parents and carers to teach their children the skills they will need to become safe independent travellers.

Year five and six pupils can join free Bikeability cycle training sessions at school to build confidence and improve on-road cycling safety skills. 

Both Footsteps and Bikeability emphasise the need for children to remain aware of their surroundings and alert for potential danger.

Enforcement by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras

We have decided to enforce School Streets via ANPR cameras as this reduces the need for volunteers, which makes them more suitable for permanent schemes and reduces the safety risks to volunteers.

It is not sustainable or practical for volunteers to solely operate the enforcement consistently on a permanent basis


The program will be monitored regularly to ensure it is meeting its aims. Data obtained from the participating schools, and the data from the initial six-week trial (March to July 2021), will be reviewed regularly. 

The results from the trial, along with some case studies and additional information, can be found in this report School Streets in Oxfordshire: Creating safer spaces for walking and cycling to school (pdf format, 3.3Mb). Similar schemes in the London boroughs of Camden and Hackney have achieved a 43% and 34% reduction in motor traffic respectively during the closure times.

Monitoring may include:

  • Monitoring the air quality on the street regularly to check for improvements.
  • Monitoring the use of active travel methods such as walking and cycling to the school to determine increased use.
  • Monitoring qualitive data from the schools, parents, and carers to ensure students are benefitting from the School Street.
  • Monitoring Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) enforcement.
  • We will share feedback through annual reviews on how well the School Streets have worked – and note the benefits, impacts and any matters for consideration raised.
  • We will also engage with the schools, the wider school community - including parents/carers, residents and businesses, to ensure the School Streets benefits continue.