Loss of school crossing patrol in North Lopham sparks safety concerns

The community rallied behind St Andrew's Primary School in North Lopham to keep the school crossing patrol in place. Photo: Thomas Malina.

The community rallied behind St Andrew's Primary School in North Lopham to keep the school crossing patrol in place. Photo: Thomas Malina.

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The loss of North Lopham’s school crossing patrol has sparked safety concerns, after Norfolk County Council confirmed it did not intend to replace the lollipop lady following her retirement.

North Lopham Parish Council is pushing to persuade the county council to reverse course on its decision not to keep the patrol at St Andrew’s CEVA Primary School, after the retirement of Mrs Self, who had been in the role for 40 years, over Easter.

In a letter to parents, Ian Webb, the county’s School Crossing Patrol Manager, said they had determined the school did not have enough pupils or traffic to meet Road Safety GB’s threshold to require a patrol.

But school staff, parents and parish councillors all argue the crossing patrol is needed, due to the school’s proximity to a blind bend and the lack of pavement for a portion of the road.

Julie Crossley, clerk to North Lopham Parish Council, said: “Frankly, this is not about numbers — it is about the location of the school and very poor visibility between two sharp bends.

“It’s really irrelevant if there is one or 100 pupils. That bend is a nightmare and there is only one safe place to cross.”

The parish council is also set to discuss the matter at their meeting on Wednesday, May 10.

The news comes only three months after the community of North Lopham successfully campaigned to keep their patrol, amid proposals to cut 38 of the 96 patrols around Norfolk.

The county council voted in January to continue the patrols as is — but with the caveat that any patrol manager at a school with insufficent pupils would not be replaced if they retired.

Melissa Mitchell, deputy headteacher at St Andrew’s Primary School, said the school was working to secure improvements to the crossing lights, and was consulting parents on the safety measures, including the possibility of a ‘walking bus’.

“The school is obviously disappointed by the decision. It is absolutely not what we wanted,” she added.

“We have already had some parents air concerns about the safety of the children.”