Minister pays visit to school

A TRANSPORT minister has given the thumbs-up to a training scheme intended to help youngsters get the hang of crossing roads and using public transport.

Lewes MP Norman Baker, a junior transport minister since May last year, paid a visit to the independent travel training facility at Beacon Hill School in Wallsend on Tuesday.

The interactive centre – the only one of its kind in the UK – helps children from across the region to build up their confidence and experience of crossing roads safely and using trains and buses.

It features a replica Metro station and train, complete with working ticket machines, and life-size puffin, pelican and zebra crossings.

During his visit, Mr Baker met students currently receiving training at the facility, off Mullen Road.

He said: “I congratulate Beacon Hill School on this excellent initiative, which is providing an invaluable service to children in the area.

“The safe and confident use of public transport helps to instil independence in young people and is vital to enabling access to employment and education as they grow older.

“I wish the school every success for the future and look forward to hearing more about the progress of the facility.”

Borough mayor Linda Arkley said: “We are very proud to host this unique facility and are keen to ensure that as many young learners as possible have the opportunity to benefit from it.”

The centre employs three independent travel trainers working across Tyne and Wear to teach travel skills to students over the age of 16 with learning disabilities.