Fight to save schools’ patrols moves forward

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TOWN councillors have announced their intention to help keep school crossing patrols up and running in Bury St Edmunds.

In a move that would cost up to £15,000 a year, Bury Town Council is considering funding the town’s four patrols once Suffolk County Council removes its funding, which could be at the end of this year’s summer term.

“We have a duty to look after the local children,” said Cllr Bob Cockle at a finance, policy and resources committee meeting on Wednesday.

Cllr David Nettleton proposed that arrangements be made with local schools to take on the responsibility of the patrols, which would need to be supervised.

He said: “The system could arise whereby the schools themselves take over the administration. The town council would not be interested in the responsibility of it but may be interested in the funding of it.”

Cllr Paul Farmer agreed.

“I welcome the opportunity for the town council to see if it can make children’s journeys to school safer in light of school crossings being removed, but I don’t think it is something that it should be responsible for – I think the answer is schools-based,” he said.

He added that the varying needs of each school should be assessed and that the use of volunteer pavement marshals and the police should not be ruled out.

“You should explore how to help the schools help themselves but I think you should be cautious about it,” he said.

The committee will recommend to full town council, on March 23, that further discussions take place with Suffolk County Council to determine what arrangements can be made.

Its recommendation is that ‘the town council continues to support the funding of school crossing patrols on the caveat that it doesn’t want to take on the responsibility for employing staff and that appropriate solutions be found with the schools’.