Children as young as 11 have been getting behind the wheel and learning to drive at school as part of plans to improve driving safety.
Training programme ‘Young Drivers at School’ spent 18 months working with Milton Keynes Academy, delivering nearly 4,500 lessons to students and the local community.
Younger students begin learning by taking part in computer-based road safety training, but children who are in Key Stage Three have been allowed to get in a car and drive.
Research by Young Drivers shows that starting to learn to drive before 17 halves the likelihood of a new driver having a road accident when they go on to pass their test.
Director of personal development at Milton Keynes Academy, Deborah Gockelen, said: “The lessons have proved extremely popular with our students.
“With the research showing that these lessons dramatically reduce the risk of a young driver having an accident once they do go on to pass their test, it was really a very simple decision for us.
“We’re potentially saving lives, those of our pupils and of people in the community. There aren’t many lessons you give which can claim to do that.”
Lessons take place within the grounds of schools and academies or at one of Young Drivers’ 30 driver training sites in the UK. The scheme is supported by SEAT, Admiral and Goodyear, and lessons are priced at less than £10 per pupil.
“It’s so important that young people leave school equipped for life, and driving is such a key skill,” added Mrs Gockelen.
“It’s strange that it isn’t more of a focus for education, especially when you think of the responsibility involved in getting behind the wheel of a car.”