Learn Live’s ‘Rail Safe Friendly’ initiative launches in Scotland

Rail Safe Friendly, an education programme which teaches young people about the dangers of trespassing on Great Britain’s railways in order to raise awareness, save lives and prevent injuries, has been officially launched in Scotland.

Rail Safe Friendly is a new addition to the Learn Live channel, which, since 2019, has broadcast Network Rail and other safety content directly to over 20 million young people in more than 11,500 schools across the UK.

Already, over 1,400 schools are on board with the programme across the UK and industry partners including ScotRail, Freightliner, Story Contracting, Keltbray and SPL Powerlines have signed up to support the scheme.

The broadcasts are delivered through live or on demand content digitally into classrooms and assembly halls via the digital education provider Learn Live. The channel also has a moderated, GDPR compliant LIVE CHAT facility to promote interaction and involvement from the schools and colleges taking part in Rail Safe Friendly.

The launch of Rail Safe Friendly for Scotland was held at Glasgow’s Rosshall Academy on Friday 18 August, with First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf in attendance. Liz Ballantyne, whose 11-year-old son Harrison was tragically electrocuted in 2017 after entering the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal in Northamptonshire to retrieve his football, made an emotional speech at the event, highlighting the importance of teaching rail safety before it is too late. Read more about Harrison’s story.

Stuart Heaton, founder and managing director of Learn Live and Rail Safe Friendly, said: “This is a very proud day for the team as we extend our vital rail safety programme to schools in Scotland. The total route length of the rail network in Scotland is approximately 1,750 miles, with over 400 miles of that electrified. These are dangerous places and so it is vital that our young people are continually educated that they should never trespass onto or in the vicinity of rail lines. 

“Since 2019, our Learn Live channel has been a secure, safe, and trusted source for schools to deliver important safety messages to children via content watched in the classroom. Rail Safe Friendly is a new addition to the Learn Live family for 2023 and is a unique partnership bringing together education providers and the rail industry.” 

Pauline Swan, Head Teacher of Rosshall Academy, who hosted the Rail Safe Friendly for Scotland launch, said: “Rosshall Academy is positioned beside a railway line and across the road from a railway station. Many of our young people travel to and from school using the train. As a result, we feel it is critically important to educate all our young people on the specific dangers associated with being too close to danger areas within the vicinity of a railway. 

“Last term our S1 pupils worked with Learn Live on a project to raise awareness across the school community on the importance of rail safety. Through their excellent efforts Rosshall Academy have achieved Rail Safe Friendly gold status. We are very proud of their work on the project and their motivation to continue to share the important message on rail safety.”

Tracy Stevenson, Community Development Executive at ScotRail added: “Rail is one of the safest forms of travel, however, safety incidents involving children still occur, which is why promoting safety on the railway is a top priority.”

“Working in partnership with Learn Live UK and Network Rail to educate young people through online sessions, the new ‘Rail Safe Friendly’ initiative will help spread the vital message and keep everyone safe in and around the railway. 

“We believe that the early engagement with young people will help them to make the right choices and prevent them from taking unnecessary risks. They will be able to make smarter, more educated choices when it comes to their safety and behaviours in and around stations and on trains.”