Heacham school heads hail lollipop patrol reprieve

Protesters departing from Heacham's  primary and junior schools for meeting at Norwich County Hall  on their patrol crossing. Pictured front FLtoR  Nicola Darley (Head Teacher Heacham Junior School).Cheryl Jenner ( Patrol Crossing Person) Louise Jackson(Head Teacher Heacham Primary School) with children and parents.
Protesters departing from Heacham's primary and junior schools for meeting at Norwich County Hall on their patrol crossing. Pictured front FLtoR Nicola Darley (Head Teacher Heacham Junior School).Cheryl Jenner ( Patrol Crossing Person) Louise Jackson(Head Teacher Heacham Primary School) with children and parents.
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Plans to axe lollipop patrols in communities across West Norfolk have been dropped after pupils from one of the affected areas pleaded for a reprieve.

Village representatives joined staff and youngsters from the junior and infant schools in Heacham to protest against the plans ahead of a crunch meeting in Norwich on Tuesday morning.

And they were celebrating when Norfolk County Council’s children’s services committee voted to continue funding all the county’s existing lollipop patrols.

Harry Toop, a year six pupil and a member of the junior school’s council, addressed the committee during the meeting.

His headteacher, Nicky Darley, said: “We talk a lot about British democracy and British values and for them to see it work in our favour is brilliant. It was an experience you couldn’t really engineer.”

Infant school head Louise Jackson said her pupils delightedly told their classmates: “We’ve saved the lollipop lady” when they returned to school.

She added: “It’s a very strong message to the children that to have opinions and voice them in the right way can achieve great results.”

Nine schools around the borough had been included in a list of around 40 sites across Norfolk that had been recommended to lose their patrols.

Officials had previously deemed the locations, which also included Nelson Academy in Downham, Dersingham Primary, Hilgay Primary Academy, the All Saints Academy in Stoke Ferry, Walpole Cross Keys Primary and West Winch Primary, not to meet revised safety criteria.

But a report published ahead of the meeting recommended that all existing crossing patrols remain in place if the proposals were rejected.

And, following the committee’s vote, the authority will need to find an extra £150,000 to fund the patrols during the forthcoming financial year.

Mrs Darley said: “I do think, if that patrol wasn’t there, it would only be a matter of time before someone is injured there.

“I don’t think you can put a price on the life of a child. I know everybody is trying to save money, but I really do think this is important.”

Ms Jackson said: “The roads outside both schools are fairly dangerous. The footpaths are either non-existant or very narrow and you can’t walk side by side. Children need high levels of supervision.”

Parish council chairman Michael Williamson, who was also among the party, added: “We’re very pleased with the result. It’s a success for common sense.”