RSE News – RYDA gets the tick of approval from independent review

Issue # 37

Welcome to RSE’s online News. In this edition we report on our collaboration with Waka Kotahi NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency), share news of our exciting opportunity to co-design RYDA for teenaged conservationists and introduce you to three new members of the RSE’s Australian Board.

In this issue – scroll down or click to jump ahead:

Waka Kotahi (NZTA) gives RYDA the tick of approval
RYDA goes to the Zoo
RSE welcomes new Directors


Waka Kotahi (NZTA) gives RYDA the tick of approval

An evidence-driven, best practice approach to road safety education is the cornerstone of the RYDA program.  RSE has always worked collaboratively with Governments across Australia and New Zealand to ensure RYDA meets their best practice guidelines, enhances school-based learning and supports government initiatives (such as the GLS in Tasmania – see earlier article).  With this in mind, RSE worked side-by-side with Waka Kotahi (New Zealand Transport Agency) as the two organisations undertook an extensive, independent full program evaluation to ensure RYDA aligned with Waka Kotahi’s good practice road safety education guidance.

An independent research company, New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) was commissioned to undertake the evaluation which consisted of two parts – reviewing program documents/resources and reviewing delivery.

During the evaluation and as part of our own regular program review process, RSE embraced opportunities to make improvements to the workshop content, our extensive kit of pre and post workshop resources and the way in which we engage with schools.  This resulted in the release of RYDA 5.0 in 2020.

The NZCER evaluation determined that RYDA 5.0 meets all road safety education criteria to either an ‘acceptable’ or ‘ideal’ standard.  In their correspondence to RSE advising on the successful conclusion of the evaluation, Waka Kotahi reported:

“Throughout this evaluation process, RSE has demonstrated its credentials as a learning organisation committed to delivering its education programme in New Zealand according to Waka Kotahi’s good practice road safety education guidelines. RSE has been willing, under the auspices of its own Advisory Council, to revise and update its materials supporting on-going improvement and enhancements to its programme.  This collaboration has demonstrated RSE’s commitment to the principles of Waka Kotahi’s good practice road safety education guidance in delivering its education programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand.”


We thank the NZTA for their commitment to the RYDA evaluation. We are looking forward to bringing RYDA to even more communities in New Zealand – a collaboration designed to reduce road trauma through quality road safety education.

NOTE: Governments across Australia and New Zealand have common goals and guidelines for best practice education.  We’ve collated the key do’s and don’t’s of road safety learning here.


RYDA goes to the Zoo as Boral brings partners together for a unique experience

Earlier this year, we were contacted by our friends at Boral (one of RSE’s major partners) who also partner with YATZ Taronga, a fantastic program that gives teens the opportunity to learn more about how our Zoos operate and spend time with like-minded people who share a passion for animals and conservation.

The team from YATZ wanted to give their students the opportunity to participate in a RYDA workshop… with a twist.  Not only did students enjoy all the RYDA road safety workshop content but we co-designed the workshop to tie in strategies for sharing the road with some of our most vulnerable road users – our precious wild life.  The day began with a presentation from one of the zoo’s wildlife experts who talked to students about the trauma suffered by animals as they navigate our roads and highways.  From there students, who also included the teens of Boral employees, headed off to their RYDA classrooms – but these were no ordinary rooms.  Taronga Zoo’s immersive classroom provided the perfect backdrop for a discussion on vulnerable road users in the Drive SOS session, where students tested their perception skills and peripheral vision, learnt a little more about the challenges faced by different road user groups and came up with strategies to help them predict and respond to those challenges – all as Uma, the stone-curlew watched on from her home in the trees.

At lunch, Boral let us borrow one of their impressive aggitator trucks so we could bring our Drive SOS session to life as students got to see what the road looks like from the cabin of a heavy vehicle.

RYDA at the Zoo is a great example of how we can work with educators to ensure the RYDA messages are personal and tailored to enhance and springboard from existing learning and student interests.  It is also a great example of how we work with our Corporate partners, all of whom play and active role in the road safety community.

Click to expand images

Image 1: Students begin to understand the challenges faced by truck drivers as, from the driver’s seat, they struggle to see their friends standing right in front of them.
Image 2: Boral’s drivers were on hand to answer any questions about the challenges faced by heavy vehicle drivers.
Image 3: A student at the truck’s steering wheel checks mirrors to see if they can see this bike. Meanwhile, the students on the bike begin to understand the vulnerability of our less-protected road users.
Image  4: Taronga’s immersive classroom helped students connect with the messages of the Drive SOS (Drive So Others Survive) session.

RSE welcomes new Directors

We’re delighted to introduce you to three new members of RSE’s Australian Board.

Gillian Kidson is a commercially focused digital and technology strategist and operational executive leader with over 30 years of experience across various business sectors. Her experience has been developed through senior roles in Information Technology, Project Management and Quality Assurance both in Australia and overseas.

Wendy Teasdale-Smith has extensive experience, knowledge and skills as an educationalist. She began her career as a secondary school teacher and ultimately spent ten years as principal of two state secondary schools in South Australia.  She has also spent time as an academic, director of an international school and CEO of the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC). She is an experienced non-executive director, having been a member of a variety of education, health, not-for-profit, and community-based boards. She has experienced firsthand the impact of deaths from road crashes during her time as a principal.

Kim Richards is a content and communications strategy director and has held senior positions in the Australian and UK media for more than two decades, including experience in the education, business, and parenting sectors.  She is a qualified educator and has spent time teaching in both primary and secondary schools, as well as developing education programs for commercial clients.

As we welcome Gillian, Wendy and Kim to the RSE team, we take the opportunity to thank and farewell Kerry Chikarovski and Lynne Wilkinson who retired as Directors in December 2020 and March 2021, respectively.

Our volunteer directors, patrons and councillors generously give of their time in our mutual quest to save lives.  We thank them all for sharing their unique talents and experience with RSE.