Schoolchildren safety fear over fewer lollipop men and women

Safety campaigners say cuts to the number of lollipop men and women near schools are "jeopardising lives".

The number of them funded by councils in Great Britain has fallen by 1,500, almost a quarter, in five years, figures obtained by the BBC show.

Some councils are consulting on removing funding for crossing wardens entirely due to budget pressures.

The Local Government Association said councils were trying to maintain crossing patrols wherever possible.

Figures on the cuts in lollipop warden posts equate to a loss of almost one in four from outside schools.

The figures do not include volunteers or those now funded by schools or other groups, meaning there may be other wardens operating. Traditionally, the role has been a service run and funded by councils.

'Preventing tragedies'

Stephen Twigg, a Labour MP who campaigns to improve road safety by schools, said parents would be concerned.

"School crossing patrols play a vital part in preventing tragedies from occurring but they have borne the brunt of cuts in government funding to local authorities in recent years," he said.

"The safety of children should not be compromised as a result."

The London borough of Hounslow went from employing 22 wardens in 2013 to just two in an area with 25,000 state-funded primary school pupils.

Chart showing percentage change in council-funded wardens

Newcastle City Council has "reluctantly" cut officer numbers from 64 in 2013 to seven - a drop of almost 90% - because of government cuts.

In Kent, the largest education authority in Britain, the council now employs 137 wardens compared to 258 five years ago - a loss of 121.

The council said it had struggled to recruit people to vacant posts and had built a zebra or pelican crossing instead at a number of sites.

The Scottish council of Midlothian was one of the few to increase the number of wardens it has available, with numbers jumping 20% from 54 in 2013 to 65.

Of the nine councils to have revealed an increase in staff, five were in Scotland.

Chart showing fall in council-funded wardens

The BBC contacted every local authority with responsibility for lollipop people. Two thirds of councils replied with comparable data, meaning the real loss of staff could be substantially higher.

About 85% of authorities that responded to a BBC Freedom of Information request had cut warden numbers since 2013 and only 7% had increased them.

Presentational grey line Presentational grey line

Road safety charity Brake agreed the cuts are "jeopardising lives".

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns, said: "Last year, 1,638 children were killed or seriously injured while cycling or walking on British roads - that's more than four families receiving devastating news every day.

"We need action now, with investment in safe crossings for children, more investment in cycling and walking infrastructure and 20mph speed limits as the default in communities."

Lollipop lady Rosaleen Littlejohn

Image copyrightLAURENCE SLEATORImage captionRosaleen Littlejohn, 72, has been a lollipop lady in Hackney for 10 years

Rosaleen Littlejohn, who has spent the past decade serving 12 schools in Hackney, said wardens act as the "eyes and ears" of the area.

From her spot outside Sir Thomas Abney Primary School the 72-year-old sees her role as important to everyone, young and old.

"As well as for safety, I feel we are here to help the community," she said.

"It's not just for children either - one year a lady in her 80s was blown over in the wind on this road. Now she won't cross the street without holding my arm.

"I really enjoy it, it's rewarding to see the look on the kids' faces, as they are always so pleased to see me."

Not a legal obligation

Local authorities have to promote road safety, but providing lollipop people is not a legal obligation.

Some councils are even considering pulling money from their service entirely.

Staffordshire's wardens are under threat, as the council consults on removing all 240 positions from their payroll from September 2019 because of "unprecedented financial challenges".

The council would still employ wardens and provide training but funding would be at the discretion of parents or schools.

Birmingham City Council - which has cut numbers heavily in recent years - may remove all its officers by not replacing them when they leave or retire.

The council is encouraging parents and schools to step in and raise the funds, with the council providing training, uniforms and supervision.

Child writes message to their lollipop lady

Image copyrightHACKNEY COUNCILImage captionThis letter to a Hackney lollipop lady was from a child who wanted to thank her

Wardens typically earn between £7.83 to £10.55 an hour and work a few hours a week.

To install a zebra or pelican crossing, as some councils have been doing to replace wardens, it can cost up to £30,000 and £50,000 respectively.

The Local Government Association said councils try to maintain school crossing patrols wherever possible.

"Many councils have been forced to review this discretionary service due to significant pressures on their budgets and increasing demand for statutory services, such as children's services and adult social care," said transport spokesman Martin Tett.
Schoolchildren safety lollipop
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
5 views in july
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

An EE customer has said she was stalked by an ex-partner who worked at the firm, after he accessed her personal data without permission. Francesca Bonafede's number was switched to a new handset and her address and bank details were accessed. She said the company failed to take the data breach seriously and she had to involve police. EE "sincerely apologised" to Ms Bonafede, and said the employee no longer worked for the company. 'They didn't seem concerne...
West Ham say they have handed over all of their evidence to the police after completing a "thorough and immediate" investigation into racist abuse shouted at Liverpool's Mohamed Salah. The incident happened during Monday's 1-1 draw at London Stadium. Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner. "The club is unequivocal in its stance - such abuse will not be tolerated," West Ham said in a...
A body seen in the wreckage of the plane carrying Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson has been recovered, investigators said. Remotely operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used in ‘challenging conditions’ to pull the body out of the water ‘in as dignified a way as possible’ the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Wednesday night. The body is being taken to Portland to be passed over to the Dorset coroner for examination, t...
The US president, who has repeatedly criticised the military alliance, would meet with heads of state in London, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg announced on Wednesday. It would be Mr Trump's second visit to Britain since his election, having jetted in amid swathes of protest last July. I am pleased to announce that allies have agreed that the next meeting of Nato heads of state and government will take place in London in December 2019. The meeting...
Rolf Harris was jailed for five years and nine months in 2014 but released on licence in May 2017 Credit: PA Officials are investigating a report that disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris walked onto the grounds of a primary school and waved at pupils. The convicted sex offender went onto the premises of Oldfield Primary School near his home in Bray, Maidenhead, to talk to a sculptor working in the grounds, the Daily Mirror reported. Harris, who was jailed fo...
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a teenager was stabbed to death. Police and London Ambulance Service were called to Wolsey Court, off Westbridge Road in Battersea, at 7.52pm on Tuesday following reports of a stabbing. A 19-year-old man was found with stab injuries and died at the scene at 8.36pm despite paramedics battling to save his life. The stabbing took place less than half a mile from Prince George's primary school, Thomas's B...
The girl, who has been named Roman by nurses, was found at around 10pm on Thursday in the park in Roman Road in East Ham.  Police said Roman was wrapped in a white towel and placed in the shopping bag on the ground next to a bench in the small children's play park.  The baby was rushed to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police said.  Roman was discovered by grandmother-of-one Rima Zvaliauskiene, 50, just 100...
The operation to recover the doomed plane carrying Emiliano Sala off Guernsey could be hampered by days of poor weather as the man brought in by the footballer's family to find him said he could be in the wreckage. The English Channel is being battered by torrential ran, 40mph winds and 10ft waves with the poor conditions set to continue - and worsen - until the end of the week, MailOnline can reveal today. The families of the £15million striker and his pi...
Train passengers are being warned of major disruption after overhead electric wires were damaged near one of London’s busiest stations. Network Rail said services travelling to and from Liverpool Street could be cancelled or revised until 8am on Thursday. Wires between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green, east London, were damaged, with the outage impacting Greater Anglia, London Overground, Stansted Express and Transport for London Rail services. Passenger...