Nine West Norfolk schools ‘could lose crossing patrols’, report reveals

School pupils in Terrington St Clement look set to keep their crossing patrol, though many others in West Norfolk face the axe
School pupils in Terrington St Clement look set to keep their crossing patrol, though many others in West Norfolk face the axe
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Three-quarters of West Norfolk’s remaining school crossing patrols could be axed under new plans from education chiefs.

A public consultation will be launched on the plans, if they are approved by a Norfolk County Council committee next week.

But officials insist the locations do not meet the criteria for a lollipop patrol and should be axed in order to save money.

There are currently 12 school crossing patrols in West Norfolk, out of 96 at locations around the county.

But a new report to be debated by the county council’s children’s services committee next Tuesday has recommended that patrols should only be financed at three of those sites.

They are the Clenchwarton Primary, the Iceni Academy at Methwold and the Terrington St Clement Community School, where villagers are currently fundraising for a permanent crossing point.

The report says the remaining sites, which include patrols serving the Nelson Academy in Downham, Dersingham Primary, Heacham Infant and Junior schools, Hilgay Primary Academy, the All Saints Academy in Stoke Ferry, Walpole Cross Keys Primary and West Winch Primary, should not be funded as they do not reach safety thresholds.

Three other patrols, in Necton, Sporle and Walsingham, would also face the axe, though the Fakenham Infant, Swaffham Infant and Junior and Weeting Primary schools would continue to be served by patrol staff.

The assessments were carried out under new national guidelines compiled by the Local Authority Road Safety Officers Association.

They looked at factors including the numbers of children and vehicles passing over the crossing points, nearby hazards, such as junctions or bends and whether other safety measures are provided at the sites.

A report to the committee said members would have to agree to spend an extra £42,000 on top of the amount already budgeted for to fund the sites that do meet the criteria.

But it said the measures will save nearly £100,000 compared to the costs of providing patrols at all the current sites.

The report also claimed there had only been two incidents involving pedestrians across all of the sites which are not deemed to meet the funding standards in the past six years and extra support would be offered to affected schools.

It added: “This is a high profile service that can easily become emotive with citizens and stakeholders.

“We will be working with colleagues to identify any opportunities for further road safety measures.”

If the committee backs the plan, a public consultation will be launched on Tuesday and run until December 31.

The responses are then due to be the subject of a further report that will be presented to committee members in late January.