Schools to foot the bill in planned crossing patrol cut

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

Schools could be forced to foot the bill for pedestrian crossing patrols - as County Hall are due to debate cease funding in a bid to save £250,000.

The proposals would see Devon County Council (DCC) transfer the costs of lollipop men and women on to education providers and the community if they wish to maintain them.

The change, if implemented, would impact Sidmouth Primary School, which has patrols at its Woolbrook Road and Vicarage Road sited, and Ottery St Mary Primary School.

The mooted cut comes despite two DCC-run consultations in which the majority of schools and residents said they preferred the current system.

The change was supported by the Devon County Council’s (DCC) cabinet last Friday (February 12) and is being debated at a meeting of the authority’s full council this afternoon (Thursday).

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DCC bosses say that the new system will enable Devon’s school crossing patrol service to continue and help the authority achieve savings required by central government.

But the council’s Liberal Democrat group this week put forward an alternative proposal, in which it suggests using some of an £8.4million pot of government cash - designed to ease pressures in the county – to continue the school crossing patrol service.

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County councillor for the Ottery St Mary rural ward, Claire Wright, said: “Ottery’s crossing patrol is absolutely vital to be retained as Tip Hill is a dangerous crossroads, clearly evidenced by a previous crossing patroller being knocked over by a car.

“School budgets are extremely tight and schools are going to really struggle to fund the service out of their own budgets.

“I will be asking DCC to assist with a graduated transition so schools can be eased into the process.”

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