Lollipop cuts put children at risk say parents

PARENTS say pupil safety is being put at risk by cutbacks in the number of lollipop men and woman patrolling outside Edinburgh schools.

The number of crossing guides employed in Edinburgh has declined by 13 – or seven per cent – in the last two years.

Parents say the cutbacks – as well as perceived reductions in investment in school road safety measures – could put parents off allowing their children to walk to school.

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Among the schools to lose a crossing patrol is Gilmerton Primary School, which saw its lollipop man retire in the last year without being replaced.

Local councillor Norma Hart said: "The primary concern has to be the safety of the children and the confidence that parents can have in allowing their children to walk to school.

"Because of the closure of schools, more children will now have to walk further and we have to ensure their safety."

She said that staff say a recruitment freeze has been imposed.

The city council confirmed that 177 crossing guides are currently employed, compared with 190 two years ago.

However, city leaders say that there is not a recruitment freeze in force and they intend to recruit another three staff.

It is thought that factors including new pelican crossings have been considered before deciding not to replace a crossing guide.

Gavin Corbett, chairman of the Craiglockhart Primary School parent council, said: "It would be one thing if lollipop crossings were being replaced by other road safety measures.

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"But the experience of my own school is of running into a brick wall, trying to get crossings or traffic calming.

"The safety of children is too precious to be the subject of cuts."

Council bosses also recently reduced the number of children who are eligible for free transport to school to those that live than two miles away.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education spokesman for Labour, said:

"If they are reducing the number of pupils entitled to free bus passes then the number of lollipop people should be increased.


Cllr Robert Aldridge, the city's environment leader, said: "School crossing patrol guides serve an important function in assisting children across roads.

"Their location is decided by a variety of factors, including whether there are other crossings in the area such as pelican crossings, and the volume of traffic."