A SCOTS school is offering driving lessons to children as young as 14 – in the school playground.
The lessons are taught as part of a nine-week course at Eyemouth High School, Berwickshire.
Pupils learn the rules of the road and are taught tricky manoeuvres such as parallel parking and three-point-turns.
The school holds the lessons in a specially cordoned-off are of the school carpark.
Youngsters also have classroom sessions during which they learn the theory needed to pass the driving test.
The £700 12 week course is funded by money received by the school from an enterprise scheme.
High School deputy head Mike Ainslie said: “It’s been a big success. Feedback has been nothing but positive. They’re all trying to get in for next year, when we’ll be looking at running the lessons for 12 weeks. These kids have shown huge enjoyment.”
At the end of the 12-week course, each pupil receives a certificate of their achievements.
So far eight pupils have taken part in the scheme but demand is already outstripping the number of places available.
Pupils in the course have praised the pilot scheme, which could be rolled out at other Schools in the Borders.
Stephen Scurr, 17, said he will take his test soon.
“It helped me save money on driving lessons because the theory was covered here and can even reverse parking seems easier when you’re shown how to do it.”
Another joked: “What’s going to be more helpful to me, this or maths class?”
Driving instructor Gay Masters thought of the idea last year and approached EyemouthHigh Schoolwith her plan.
She said: “I had this idea last January and I just went looking for someone to help me realise it.”
Together with fellow driving instructor Colin Nicol, the 53-year-old said the aim of the lessons is to instill good driving practice at an early age.
Mr Nicol said: “Rural driving is where fatal accidents happen. Motorways are actually safer.
“Age is also a factor here. Under 21s are a minority group amongst drivers, but they have the majority of accidents. That’s important for these kids to remember when they are learning.”
Mr Nicol has been instructing for more than 13 years and believes the scheme will reduce road deaths.
“Swedish surveys show that if you start learning to drive at 16, you are around 15 per cent less likely to be involved in an accident.
“And in some Scandinavian countries children as young as 12 start learning.”
Gay agrees that driving should be taught at an early age inScotland.
She said “driving education is a core lesson in many high schools” in theUS.
“This is about road safety and education, not just the importance of driving,” Gay added.
Colin and Gay are now looking to introduce the lessons to other schools.
Gay added: “Quite simply we’re helping these kids stay alive. We have a moral obligation to these children.”
Official statistics show that three out of four road fatalities occur onScotland’s country roads, resulting in an average of 190 deaths a year.
UK-wide, young drivers aged 17 to 24 are involved in crashes that result in 24% of road deaths and serious injuries.
That’s 17 deaths and serious injuries every day – despite the fact young drivers only make up 12% of licence holders.