Update on future of schools crossing patrols in Newcastle

March 17, 2017 6:11 PM

School crossingsAlthough the Labour Cabinet Member rejected the petition so many signed online and on paper, we have not let the matter rest. There's been a lot of chatter about what might happen, so we thought you'd like to see an extract from the letter that's gone out from Council officers to all Head Teachers, which is about as definitive as it gets at this stage.

Dear Head Teacher

Closure of the School Crossing Patrol Service

As you will be aware due to a significant reduction in budgets we will be reducing the workforce and closing the majority of School Crossing Patrol sites at the end of this academic year.

As of the 21st July 2017 the service will cease for all but 3 sites. The 3 sites that are being retained are:

Coast Road at Corner House pub,
Great North Road at Broadway East
Walker Road near Pottery Bank.

The Coast Road and Great North Road sites are being retained and are classed as high risk sites while the Walker Road site is being independently funded from a Ward budget.

I appreciate that you may be aware of these upcoming changes however I wanted to ensure that you have time to let your pupils and parents know that there will not be a School Crossing Patrol on site in Sept 2017.

Should you not be aware, there are options for schools to fund and secure a School Crossing Patrol themselves.

The two options are:

Schools could enter into a service level agreement with the Road Safety Team and this would be undertaken through the 'schools SLA' facility which is managed corporately. This would result in the employment status of the SCP being retained with the Council. Therefore the post would be available for all remaining school crossing patrol staff to apply for, including the staff currently occupying that point. This is because the role of School Crossing Patrol Officer is not specific to a particular point location and is transferable.

Schools could employ the school crossing patrol depending on the legal status of the school there could be TUPE transfer implications.

If schools take over responsibility for employing SCP then LA schools would continue to be included within the Councils insurance arrangements (this includes any Trust Schools who are not Academy Trusts).

Academy schools/Academy Trusts are responsible for making their own insurance arrangements and public liability.

Currently all the School Crossing Patrol officers have been offered Voluntary Redundancy and I am processing the applications however many staff have expressed a wish to remain in post if funding was available.

Should you wish to retain a school crossing patrol near your school it is not too late to do so and I would be happy to discuss the above options with you in more detail.

This does of course not answer a number of questions, including :

1. Why were these 3 crossings the only ones to be retained out of more than 50? It's because the Council's assessment of risk, which is based on pedestrians versus vehicle numbers.

2. How much would it cost to keep a crossing warden like Jim at Broadway East pictured above? £5000 a year (which is just over £100 per month per school at that location, although higher elsewhere)

3. Could local people raise this money? We've suggested a way which might work. The officer is consulting the Council's lawyers and accounting staff about the mechanics put forward.

4. Are any further physical changes being brought in to compensate for the loss of crossing wardens? Perhaps, but councillors will have to push this. e.g. Parklands councillors have made suggestions about signage, warning lights and raised beds on the current crossing the four Broadway East schools which officers are considering.

We'll report back on any of these for which we get positive answers.

Liberal Democrats Councillors