Lollipop axe threat ‘makes us more determined to fund crossing’, says Terrington St Clement school head

School Crossing problems for Terringron St Clement Community School, 
Headteacher Liz Hackett (right) crossing the road between the  schools with pupils and parents. ANL-150520-184617009
School Crossing problems for Terringron St Clement Community School, Headteacher Liz Hackett (right) crossing the road between the schools with pupils and parents. ANL-150520-184617009
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Plans that could see dozens of school lollipop patrols axed will only make residents more determined to fund their own, permanent, safety measures, a headteacher has vowed.

A Norfolk County Council committee this week ordered a review to establish which sites should keep the service.

Among the patrols at risk is that outside the Terrington St Clement Community School, where staff and parents are already fundraising for a permanent crossing point on Churchgate Way.

And headteacher Liz Hackett said yesterday: “It makes us more determined. If they’re cutting such a small cost, they’re not going to put their hand in their pocket for the big costs.”

County council officials have insisted the crossing patrol service needs to be reformed in order to reduce costs.

A report presented to its children’s services committee, who approved a proposal to remove patrols from sites which do not meet safety guidelines at a meeting on Tuesday, suggested that around 40 sites, out of almost 100 across the county which have patrol at the moment, do not meet the criteria.

There are currently 10 schools in West Norfolk that have crossing patrols, along with schools in Fakenham, Hockwold, Necton, Sporle, Swaffham and Walsingham.

Committee chairman James Joyce said: “The criteria are based on a number of factors including numbers of school children crossing at the site, number and type of vehicles passing through the site, width of the road and visibility and other road safety measures.

“Once the review has been carried out, the recommendations on what sites to keep and which to withdraw will be presented to the Children’s Services Committee for agreement.

“School crossing patrols can provide a valuable service in Norfolk but in the right locations.

“It is also important to highlight the role and responsibility of parents, as well as the community as a whole, to ensure children get to school safely.”

Mr Joyce also admitted that the allocation of almost £380,000 of Norfolk County Council funding will be taken into account when decisions on the future of the lollipop patrols are taken.

Last week, the authority’s environment, development and transport committee (EDT) approved proposals to provide funding for more than 120 community road safety schemes across the county, through its parish partnership scheme.

The programme allows parish councils to bid for funding to cover up to half the costs of a safety project in their areas.

The list of approved schemes includes almost 30 in West Norfolk, which will share almost £70,000.

Among them are the villages of Hilgay and Stoke Ferry, which are among the areas where lollipop patrols are now set to be reviewed following this week’s vote.

Although there is currently a lollipop patrol to help children get to school in Terrington St Clement safely in the morning, there is no provision in the afternoons.

The community school, alongside the neighbouring high school, launched a fundraising campaign last spring to raise the money needed for a permanent crossing on Churchgate Way to help improve safety. So far, around £1,500 has been raised for the cause.

A host of forthcoming fundraising activities are planned for the campaign, which is also being supported by the parish council.

Miss Hackett said: “There’s always a way round the problem.”

Meanwhile, the criteria through which applications for parish partnership funding can be made is set to be reviewed, in response to a call from Clenchwarton and Lynn South representative Alexandra Kemp.

She says district authorities, such as West Norfolk Council, should be able to bid for money towards projects in unparished areas, such as Lynn.

Residents in West Lynn have been campaigning for a crossing to be installed near the entrance to the Poppyfields housing estate since a girl was injured in a collision with a car there in October 2014.

However, the county council has said the site does not meet safety criteria and it cannot currently benefit from the parish partnership scheme as there is no parish council for the area.

A report on the issue will be brought back to a future committee meeting.