Community News

Axing of 24 school crossing patrols – but Christ the King saved.

Schools across Bristol will lose 24 crossing patrols in the latest round of council cost cutting – but Knowle West’s School of Christ the King has been saved.

The city-wide cuts have been scaled back following  protests from parents and schools   –  to save £90,000 rather than the original £155,000.

The proposals were agreed at a Bristol City Council cabinet meeting on 4 December – which also saw the closure of all on street public toilets across the city –

In the original plans around half of all school crossing patrols  would have been axed.

But after listening to feedback from the Your Neighbourhoods Consultation and carrying out site visits, the council has reduced the number – with 21 schools  affected.

These include Greenfield E-Act Academy, Oasis Academy Connaught and Parson Street Primary which will lose one crossing patrol while Knowle Park Primary School will have two patrols axed.

School of Christ the King will now retain its lollipop patrol. As reported in the August Knowledge, staff and parents were outraged – fearing children’s lives would be at risk if lollipop lady Carina Harvey was removed.

There is no crossing outside the Hartcliffe Road site and the school is near a bend in the road where cars can speed round. A large percentage of children walk to school on their own.

Head teacher Matt Condon said: “… Thank you to all parents, carers and the community for supporting Carina to keep this valuable service for our school.  Congratulations to Carina for the fantastic work that she does making sure the children cross safely across the road which has been recognised by the school, the community and Bristol City Council.”

The funding has been removed from 15 of 16 sites with an existing light controlled or zebra crossing.

Hillcrest Primary School’s patrol was saved after protests from parents, councillors and staff at the site – who said although there was a crossing, Wells Road was a particularly busy and dangerous route for children to walk to school.

Cabinet member for transport Cllr Mhairi Threlfall said: “Providing safe routes to school is very important. We want to encourage kids to walk to school and for parents and guardians to feel that it’s safe to do so…”

She said child safety remained a “priority” and patrols had only been removed from school routes which had been deemed safe under assessment from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The council would be looking at other schemes, improving engineered crossings and working with schools around the busiest junctions and school routes to “deliver other mitigations and also education around good school crossing”.

Cabinet papers show there could be health implications if children stop walking to school and traffic could increase.

Plans to mitigate these effects include installing traffic calming measures at schools which don’t have them and encouraging schemes such as “walking buses”.