School crossing patrols will continue at the majority of Oldham schools next term, with seven also taking up the service for the very first time.
The provision of lollipop men and women is not a statutory service and, from April, all local schools are now responsible for funding their own crossing patrols, where they believe they are needed.
The Local Authority has been working closely with schools to review the current patrols in advance of this change and to agree which will continue using the service.
There are currently 37 school crossing patrols across the Borough. A total of 29 schools have agreed to fund patrols from the start of the summer term (15 April onwards), a figure that includes seven new schools. Discussions remain open with the 15 schools which are currently choosing not to continue with this service.
As part of our firm commitment to school and road safety, Oldham Council can also confirm it is now funding the purchase of a second ‘School Safety Car’. The vehicle’s mission is to stop the disruptive car parking that can endanger pupils’ lives at local schools.
This second car, named ‘Kes’ (Keeping Everyone Safe) by local pupil Ellie Derbyshire in a schools competition, will soon also start visiting sites across the borough several times each term at the start and end of the school day.
It aims to stop vehicles from parking on keep clear signs, zig zag markings, footpaths and other illegal places that create ‘danger spots’ for young people and other pedestrians. The first vehicle ‘Oscar’ (Oldham’s Safety Car) has – to date – issued 260 Penalty Charge Notices at £70 for inconsiderate parking at local schools**.
Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Planning, said, “We’re very encouraged by the number of schools who are opting to continue with our school crossing patrols – and delighted that some new ones have also come on board. This is a really positive example of Co-operative working with local schools to help keep our young people safe. The fact that the majority of them want to keep funding a crossing patrol shows this service is highly valued by pupils, parents and staff.
“At this stage some schools have decided not to fund a patrol next term. But our door remains firmly open if they wish to reconsider and we will continue to work with them to monitor the potential impact. If a concerned parent thinks their school needs a crossing patrol and wishes to challenge that decision then they should contact the headteacher direct.
“The Council’s investment in a second School Safety Car is a further extension of our commitment to road safety. We all know that many schools and neighbouring residents suffer parking problems and we must be proactive about this. The vast majority of drivers pay attention to road markings and behave responsibly. They have nothing to worry about, but our message to the thoughtless minority who continue to use restricted zones when dropping off and collecting children, is crystal clear. Parked vehicles can hide children who are trying to cross the road and we make no apologies for taking direct action to potentially save lives.”
The new school crossing patrol arrangements will begin on 15 April at the start of the new term.