Private sponsorship may save Wandsworth’s lollipop patrollers


Lollipop patrollers for Wandsworth schools may yet remain in the borough thanks to a private sponsorship deal.


By Alex Christian

Lollipop patrollers for Wandsworth schools may yet remain in the borough thanks to a private sponsorship deal.

Wandsworth Council have stated that a major national company will help pay for some school-crossing patrols following the council’s scaling-down of the service.

It follows much controversy over the cuts with parents and teachers worried over a rise in car accidents.

The council’s Conservative leadership maintain that parents accompanying their children to school alongside pedestrian traffic lights should replace the need for staff.

Councillor Russell King, Wandsworth Town Hall’s transport spokesman, said: “We absolutely recognise that some parents do appreciate the value and reassurance that the patrollers offer and that is why we have been discussing sponsorship arrangements with this large national company.”

Only a minority of schools have a lollipop person and there are many long-term vacancies due to the few hours of paid work each week.

Despite this, some schools have discussed new funding arrangements with the council and 16 schools have stated they will directly fund their own patrollers.

Mark Rowney, former Elliot School governor, said: “The council are targeting people who are the most vulnerable.

“There are other services that can be cut where people can manage much better and they are not choosing those services.”

Less than half of Wandsworth schools have lollipop patrols with many traffic lights put in place over the last decade.

Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Kathy Tracey, said: “You can deliver a safe route to school mechanically by having pedestrian traffic lights and then you don’t need the personnel.”

Councillor King added it is likely only about half of existing lollipop patrols will continue with funds raised from schools or PTAs.

“We have examined this issue very carefully indeed and looked at other parts of the country and the overwhelming evidence is that school crossing patrollers do not have any effect on accident figures,” he added.

“The council has an excellent record of ensuring the safety of children on our roads and that will continue.”

The cuts to the service were a factor for a GMB-backed picket outside the council’s monthly meeting at the Town Hall on October 17.

Wandsworth National Unions of Teachers Secretary, Spencer Barnshaw, said at the protest: “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that children will die or be seriously injured because of the dark mornings and nights – the council must change their minds, surely.”

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