School is spared from crossing patrol cuts

The school crossing outside Sidmouth primary school. Ref shs 5142-37-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

The school crossing outside Sidmouth primary school. Ref shs 5142-37-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

One hundred Devon schools could have to finance their own crossing patrols if County Hall bosses push through plans to slash funding.

Devon County Council (DCC) is looking to save £100,000 from the budget by passing on the cost to schools, which could see some roles decommissioned altogether.

Sidmouth Primary School headteacher Paul Walker said he did not believe either of its crossing patrols were at risk – and someone should be starting soon to keep pupils safe in Woolbrook Road.

“The issue for our school has not been who is funding the role – more a case of finding applicants,” he said.

“Whoever was funding appointing would have had a challenge filling the post.”

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DCC is facing a £50million cut to its budget over the next year so is assessing whether schools need a crossing patrol, based on the number of pedestrians and cars in a given period.

At sites where the patrols do not meet the criteria, it is looking to transfer costs to schools, while continuing to finance training and supplies.

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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon’s highways chief, said: “This isn’t a statutory service but we are keen for crossing patrols to continue, working in partnership with schools and communities.

“However, DCC no longer has the funds to support all of the existing patrols.

“The Secretary of State claims we have a 0.5 per cent increase in spending power, but we’re actually looking at a 14 per cent reduction.

“The county council would still cover the costs of essential support, providing the necessary training and equipment for all the school crossing patrol sites, but if the remaining costs cannot be found locally then it may result in the loss of patrols that don’t meet the criteria.”

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