Campaigner calls for joint action to fight threat to Norfolk's school crossing patrols

Norman Lamb MP spending the morning with Bacton Primary School lollipop lady Jacqui MacDonald.Pictur

Norman Lamb MP spending the morning with Bacton Primary School lollipop lady Jacqui MacDonald.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A campaigner is calling on all Norfolk schools whose crossing patrol is threatened to join forces and press for an alternative solution.

Norman Lamb MP spending the morning with Bacton Primary School lollipop lady Jacqui MacDonald. Pictu

Norman Lamb MP spending the morning with Bacton Primary School lollipop lady Jacqui MacDonald. Pictured is parent governor and campaign leader, Jennie Rooke.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Jennie Rooke thinks Norfolk County Council should consider scrapping all 96 of its crossing patrols - not just the 38 it wants to axe in a bid to save about £150,000.

A parent governor at Bacton Primary School, near North Walsham, Mrs Rooke explained her idea to North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb when he visited Bacton to watch threatened lollipop lady Jacqui MacDonald at work.

Mrs Rooke asked why if, as stated by the council, it was parents' responsibility to get children to school, any school should get a free crossing patrol?

Instead, she suggested, it would be fairer if the cash allocated to the remaining 58 sites could be used to cover crossing patrol costs such as insurance and training, and any school which wanted a lollipop person could contribute cash and 'opt in', supplementing the overall cost.


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As chairman of Bacton's parents', teachers' and friends' association, she said: 'I would be happy to increase our fundraising efforts and look to local businesses to help support such a vital service.'

The solution would mean crossing patrols continued to be council employees, as required by law, and the subsidy money would not have to come from school budgets, which is banned.

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She is racing against the clock to contact all other threatened schools before a consultation period on the closures ends on January 8.

The county's Children's Services Committee is expected to announce its decision on January 24.

Mrs Rooke said the complicated national formula used by Norfolk County Council to decide which crossing patrols to axe was partly based on the number of pupils using the crossing, which she believed discriminated against smaller schools.

'Every single child's safety is important,' she said, 'Not just those at larger schools.'

Mr Lamb has written on the school's behalf to transport secretary Chris Grayling asking, among other things, for the criteria to be reviewed as it seemed to discriminate against smaller schools.

? Mrs Rooke can be contacted via email at: jennie.rooke@gmail.com

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