21st Jan, 2019

Shirley school set to lose Stratford Road school crossing patrol considers options

Sarah Mason 14th Mar, 2018

A SHIRLEY school is looking at alternate ways to get children safely to and from the gates when the axe falls on school crossing patrols in September.

Our Lady of the Wayside is set to lose its school crossing patrol on Stratford Road near the junction with Blackford Road after Solihull Council approved plans to cut half of the borough’s 44 patrols by April 2019 as part of plans to save £100,000.

The crossing outside of the Stratford Road school is one of eight housed on permanent pedestrian crossings such as zebra, pelican, toucan or puffin crossings.

Headteacher, Ben Taylor, said this decision has worried the school.

He added: “It’s such a dangerous crossing because its close to the roundabout driver whizz around it and can run a red light.

“The problem is the split-nature of the crossing.

“People only cross one half of the road at a time and if you get too many people on the island in the middle of the road it becomes very dangerous as people could end up standing in the road.”

The crossing is a ‘staggered’ pelican crossing and pedestrians only cross to the central refuge in the first instance and onto the other side of the road after pressing another button.

Mr Taylor said: “We are investigating other options which includes the possibility of school covering the costs of employing an patrol crossing officer.

“Our problem is we would have to budget for the costs and our budget is pretty tight at the moment and we would have to find the money to ensure the safety of those using the crossing.”

The school crossing patrol service is not a statutory service and councils across the country have been cutting the service in response to heavy government cuts since 2010.

A Solihull Council spokesperson said: “The School Crossing Patrol facility on Stratford Road near the junction with Blackford Road is one of a number of sites identified across the borough which benefits from an existing alternative crossing facility. As part of the recommendations from our recent School Crossing Patrol Service Review, which was approved in November 2017; it was agreed that the Council will no longer operate school crossing patrols where we have alternative crossings such as Zebra or Puffin facilities.

“As such, our school crossing patrol at Stratford Road will no longer operate at this location from September 2018.

“In advance of this change, we have met with the head teacher of Our Lady of the Wayside school to discuss a number of options and opportunities. We will continue to engage with all of the schools in the borough affected by this decision and will work with them to implement appropriate measures to aid safe journeys to and from school.”

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