A PILOT scheme aiming to get to the root of illegal parking outside schools will see children tasked with educating their parents.

While local authorities across the country have spent decades trying tackle the mounting issue of parents routinely ignoring road markings and warning signs, mounting kerbs and blocking roads and driveways, Darlington Borough Council is optimistic its multi-pronged approach will make a significant difference.

The council is set to launch the initiative at several schools where parents’ parking has been particularly problematic, including outside Corporation Road, Polam Hall, Firthmoor, Mowden and Hummersknott schools, following a rise in complaints from residents about congestion and road safety during drop-off and pick-up times.

It comes just weeks after school-run parents elsewhere in the Tees Valley were condemned for parking across driveways, which prevented a mother from getting an urgently ill child to hospital and teachers being abused after asking parents to park responsibly.

It also follows the authority’s leader, Councillor Heather Scott, voicing her determination to crack down on “stupid” parking before and after the school day.

She said: “These parents park anywhere. They park on double yellow lines, on corners, residents parking areas. Some of them sit for ages chatting with engines running. Examples have to be made of these parents.”

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St Augustine's School, Darlington

Graham Hall, the council’s head of community safety, said the potential of the pilot scheme, which has been boosted with a £7,000 grant from the Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner’s Office was “exciting” as it would involve teachers, pupils parents.

Alongside increased patrols outside schools by police and the council’s expanded civic enforcement team, he said children would be taught about responsible parking so that they could educate their parents. It is understood the scheme could also see some smaller streets near schools closed for 20 minutes during drop-off and pick-up times to tackle congestion.

He said: “It’s about parking responsibly, taking the necessary precautions, walking to schools where possible, advice and enforcement. So we will have a package of tools. If this works we will then extend this across the whole borough.”

A meeting of the council’s communities and local services committee heard the scheme comes some seven years after a successful project in which a panel of students and teachers at Hurworth School helped police confront parents over their dangerous parking before being made to apologise.

The council’s community safety portfolio holder Councillor Jonathan Dulston said: “Illegal parking outside schools has never really been solved, so this scheme is about finding creative ways to make efforts more effective.

“We will also be encouraging more people to walk to school, which will reduce the amount of traffic on the roads and have an positive impact on climate change. Ultimately, this is about the safety of children, school staff and the public.”