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School Watch - keeping children safe around schools

The aim of Guildford and Waverley School Watch is to keep children and adults safe when they are crossing roads at the start and finish of the school day. Please read our School Watch guidelines, which aim to help car drivers carry out school drop-off and pick-up duties safely.

Most road accidents involving children around school gates happen when a child cannot see the road to cross safely because there are parked cars in the way. It is very important that there is a clear area around schools so children and adults can cross safely.

Understanding rules around schools

We know that drop-off and pick-up times are stressful and it is not always clear where you can or cannot park and what the signs mean. Here is a quick guide:

  • School keep clear / yellow zig-zag lines outside schools show where stopping or waiting is strictly prohibited. The markings show the space outside of schools which must be kept free from parked vehicles so children can cross safely.
  • Double yellow lines mean no waiting or parking at any time. You can stop to pick up/drop off as long as it is continuous and no restrictions are in force.
  • Disabled or permit bay means that you can only park in that bay if you have the relevant permit and if there is a time restriction.

What can parents do to make a difference?

  • Make sure you know the traffic rules around your school and where the safe places are for children to cross.
  • Arrive for pick-up and drop-off times earlier and if necessary park safely further away.
  • Car share with other parents.
  • Walk to school where possible.
  • Allow or encourage children to use bicycles or public transport.
  • Don't break safety rules because you're late.
  • If you have to use your car for school drop-off and pick-up, please park considerately away from controls, junctions, points of access and spaces prioritised for other users.

Tackling illegal parking near school entrances

Because of safety concerns and complaints about illegal parking raised by parents, teachers and residents, our Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) carried out 454 patrols at 28 Guildford Schools and 225 patrols at 21 Waverley Schools between April 2018 and March 2019 to deal with illegal parking.

School Watch (April 2018 to March 2019)

Guildford schools

Waverley schools

Advice given to move on



Penalty Charge Notices



Our CEOs aim to help drivers understand the dangers of parking illegally, idling and blocking school entrances. They have focused on moving drivers on rather than issuing a penalty charge notice (PCN), unless it is necessary.  But to ensure safe school drop-off and pick-up times, stricter enforcement of parking restrictions may be necessary.

Stricter enforcement warning

Until now, our CEOs in Guildford and Waverley have only issued PCNs to vehicles parked illegally or drivers who have not moved when advised, or if the motorist is not around. But CEOs can issue a PCN if a motorist drives off before a ticket is issued. In this instance the driver will get their notice posted to them, even if a CEO has only started writing out the PCN.

The aim of this is to deter motorists who may be parking illegally but planning to avoid a penalty by moving their vehicles as soon as they see enforcement being carried out.

How School Watch started

The parking office started its successful trial Guildford School Watch in 2018, when CEOs recorded the outcome of patrols at schools. 

Findings from the trial

icon View our findings from the Guildford School Watch [153.82KB] . The slides attached show:

  • Slide 1 - School Watch findings by month for patrols carried out, move ons and PCNs.
  • Slide 2 - School Watch findings by term for patrols carried out, move ons, PCNs and patrols carried out by percentage for the period of enforcement.

The findings show that CEOs where possible, prefer to educate and move drivers on, and only issue penalty charge notices as a last resort.

Should you have a problem at your school with prohibited parking, please contact Customer Services at customerservices@guildford.gov.uk.