Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has branded a freeze on the recruitment of all School Crossing Patrol (SCP) staff, including temporary cover, by the Education Authority as ‘madness’, saying the decision will increase safety concerns at schools across Northern Ireland. The DUP representative raised the issue in a meeting with EA Directors last week, urging a rethink on the decision.
Carla Lockhart said:
“One of the issues I have raised with me on a regular basis is the safety of school sites, and the dangers to children making their way to school. Right across Upper Bann we have schools located on busy arterial routes, and indeed rural roads where there are no other forms of traffic control or safe crossing.
For generations safe passage to school has been supported by ‘lollipop’ men and women. Their primary purpose is to help people cross the road safely to get to school, but for many they become a trusted and key part of the school community too.
It is therefore remarkable that the EA has targeted this vital pupil safety area as a place to find financial savings. To freeze recruitment, including temporary cover, will see this service withdrawn at sites where there are very valid concerns. The EA state it is not their responsibility to ensure safe transit of children, but rather it is parents. Yet in many sites the danger is to adults and children alike.
I raised this today with the EA Leadership and urged them to rethink this decision. The last thing any of us would want is this decision to result in an accident, that could have been prevented by retaining the service.”