John Whitehouse

Retired County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

School Crossing Crisis

by John Whitehouse on 18 April, 2008

I am a governor at St. John’s Primary School and Nursery in Mortimer Road, Kenilworth. The road is part of the diversionary route for buses and other vehicles during the 25 week closure of the Warwick Road which commenced yesterday morning.

It was therefore the worst possible morning for the usual school crossing patrol person to be away ill, as traffic volumes were much higher than normal. Conditions were so difficult for children and parents crossing that the headteacher ended up going out and stopping the traffic personally – far from an ideal state of affairs.

Luckily in the afternoon the local police Safer Neighbourhoods team were able to respond with a PCSO on duty, and this morning the sergeant did the honours, for which the school was extremely grateful. Hopefully our usual crossing person will be back on Monday.

What this demonstrated was that there is no back-up available in the system at all, not even in such exceptional circumstances. The county council’s Road Safety Unit, who manage the school crossing service, could provide absolutely no one to cover on an emergency basis. While the legal position is clear, that parents are responsible for their children’s safety until they reach the school gate, the reality is that many families come to depend on the school crossing service to enable their children to walk to and from school unaccompanied.

I plan to take this matter up with Cllr. Martin Heatley, the county council’s Cabinet Member responsible for the Environment. While I know resources are tight, the safety of our school-age children must be a paramount concern for all elected members.

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