Christmas has come early for a group of Cire Community School students in the form of their well-earned Learner Driver permits, one of those much anticipated rights-of-passage for young people of their age.
The students successfully attained their permits on Friday, 24 November, as a grand finale to successfully completing Changing Gears, a pre-learner driver education program, earlier in the week.
Changing Gears and other Community Road Safety initiatives – Safer Vehicles and Looking After Our Mates (LAOM) – are always much anticipated and part of the rich and diverse offerings at Cire Community School. They are made possible thanks to funding through the Department of Transport and Planning’s Community Road Safety Program. The school is extremely fortunate to have received regular DoT funding in what is an increasingly competitive application process.
Changing Gears is designed to provide additional and individualised support to participants to maximise their ability and knowledge to obtain their Learner’s Permit. The learning is repeated throughout the sessions, so it becomes more ingrained into students’ memories.
The following student feedback highlights the benefits of Changing Gears:
- Changing Gears helped me to learn road rules that I didn’t know.
- I now have a better understanding of the road rules.
- Safety and Common Sense, Safety and Common Sense, Safety and Common Sense.
- It helped me to know about road rules.
- I liked the way Nikki explained the road rules.
- Repetition and keeping explanations simple helped me to understand better.
Karen Swankie, who has been instrumental in the Community Road Safety Program at Cire for almost 10 years, explained the Changing Gears course runs over three days, with testing on the fourth.
“Obtaining their Learner’s Permit provides students with a sense of responsibility as they work towards gaining their independence of getting their Ps,” Karen said.
“Students learn that when they drive they have a serious responsibility, not just for their own life but for every person in every other car that they potentially come into contact with.
“Through the Changing Gears, Safer Drivers and LAOM, road rules are embedded and also the need to ensure you’re a safe driver on the road so that you don’t hurt anyone else, yourself or your car.
Thanks to Changing Gears, Cire enjoys an almost 100% success rate when students sit for their Learner’s Permits. Linda Jane and Nikki Thompson from Changing Gears develop a great rapport with students when they deliver the sessions. While probably a bit more confident than the students on testing day, they certainly share the joy and excitement when students obtain their permits.
Under the current 2023.24 funding, Changing Gears will be delivered at Cire Community School’s new Monbulk campus with one each in Terms 1 and 2, four LAOM sessions in March, and three Safer Vehicles sessions in June. The programs will be offered to students from across all campuses.
Subject to funding, Cire hopes to offer the programs again in 2024 and 25.
Photo: Proud new Learner drivers from left, Lily, Lolita, and Rihanna