A report in the Mirror suggests that almost 1,000 school crossing patrols – or ‘lollipop ladies’ as they are referred to in the article – have been “axed” since 2010.
The Mirror report is based on the results of a Freedom of Information request to all county councils in England by Andy Sawford, shadow local government minister.
The Mirror report says that seven in 10 councils have “sacked” SCPs, with at least 992 posts lost since May 2010. It goes on to say that the “true figure is almost certainly worse as a quarter of the 121 authorities could not provide figures”.
Mr Sawford said: “Unrepaired potholes, streetlights being switched off and cuts to bus services are already making it more dangerous for children to get to school. Parents will be alarmed.”
Talking to the Mirror, Russell Thorne, deputy head at Christ Church Primary School in St Leonards, East Sussex, said: “I am sure the people who end up making these decisions can see the folly of this. There has to be another way of making these cuts. They could have blood on their hands.”
The Mirror says that Northamptonshire County Council has lost 60 SCPs since 2010, and Essex County Council recently asked 55 schools to pay more than £5,000 a year to fund their crossing patrols or risk losing them.
Kevin Clinton, from RoSPA, said: “It is crucial that authorities do a very careful assessment of the risk to children if a patrol is removed.
“They should only remove a patrol if they’re confident there are other measures to protect children such as a light-controlled crossing or a reduction in the speed limit to 20mph.”