Parents start a petition in Ely after head teachers were told they may have to pay for school crossing patrols

Budget may be cut for crossing patrols in Cambridgeshire schools

Budget may be cut for crossing patrols in Cambridgeshire schools - Credit: Archant

Almost 1,000 young people’s lives will be put at risk if an idea to cut funding for school crossing patrols is given the go ahead, it has been warned.

Parents have launched a petition against budget slashing measures by Cambridgeshire County Council who said they could save £171,000 a year if they stopped paying for patrols.

Instead head teachers will either be asked to pay the £5,000 a year patrol price tag or recruit their own school crossing patrol volunteer and the council would provide the uniform, training and supervision management at a cost of £800 a year.

Naomi Church, a governor at St Mary’s Junior School in Ely, where the petition has started, said: “We are shocked at proposals to take away funding.

“We understand the county is under serious budget threats but cutting at the very basic level is wrong.

“The county council has a responsibilty on a safeguarding level that includes getting children to and from school safely.

“There are almost 1,000 children who cross that stretch of road getting to three schools. To take away a crossing patrol and expect schools to fund themselves is wrong.”

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Affected would be St Mary’s, Spring Meadow and Isle of Ely primary which has a temporary site in that area.

A letter from county council said: “Local authorities continue to face significant financial pressures.

“Whilst at this stage it is only a proposal, it is included in the emerging business plan and is being discussed.”

In a letter to all schools in Cambridgeshire, Andy Swallowe, school crossing patrol service manager, said the budget cut idea would “offer schools and local communities the opportunity to take the function on.”

If they wanted to go for a management only option then it would cost around £800 a year and the county council would provide the legally required training, uniform and supervision, but the crossing patrol would be recruited by, paid for and managed by the school.

Volunteers may also be a possibility, said Mr Swallowe, who said if there was no interest then the council would “unfortunately have to close the relevant patrol site.”

The final proposals will be considered by full council early in 2016.

All schools are being asked to have a say in the consultation process, which starts on December 11 and runs for 45 days.