Parents blast 'ridiculous' decision to get rid of Kenilworth school's crossing patrol

The entrance to St John's Primary School off Mortimer Road. Copyright: Google Street View
The entrance to St John's Primary School off Mortimer Road. Copyright: Google Street View

Parents of pupils at a Kenilworth primary school have blasted a county council decision to get rid of the school’s crossing patrol, branding it ‘ridiculous’ and ‘terrible’.

In a newsletter published on Friday January 26, headmaster of St John’s Primary School Darren Barrow revealed the school’s crossing was going to be scrapped after a site visit from Warwickshire County Council.

He said the decision was ‘very disappointing’ and could ‘severely compromise’ pupils’ safety.

After seeing the newsletter, Kenilworth parents Stuart and Kim Gardiner, of Roseland Road, felt compelled to take action.

The couple, whose nine-year-old son Curtis attends St John’s, have started a petition to try and get the county council to change its mind.

Kim, who was the last person to work as the school’s crossing patrol before handing in her notice in December, said although her position had been advertised, the job was made redundant by the council without warning.

She said: “It’s just ridiculous. The road’s used as a rat run by people from the town centre.

“When I was working I had three near misses, and I was wearing a hi-vis jacket.

“Fair play to the headteacher. He’s got serious concerns about this.”

And Stuart was equally concerned. He said: “We want to bring this to everyone’s attention. It really is a dangerous road.”

Kim also said she would not let Curtis walk the short distance to school on his own without a crossing patrol as she felt it was too dangerous without one.

Along with the Gardiners’ petition, fellow resident Caroline Watts set up another petition asking the council the same thing.

She said: “We urge Warwickshire County Council to reconsider this terrible decision and reinstate the school crossing patrol, install a crossing or reduce the speed limit.”

A spokesman for Warwickshire County Council said the decision to provide a school crossing patrol mainly depends on the number of children likely to use it and the number of vehicles that use the road when children are likely to cross.

He added: “A site assessment was carried out in January 2018 but unfortunately the site on Mortimer Road did not meet the criteria.

“While this means that we are unable to fund or seek to recruit a patrol at this time we have offered to carry out another survey in April, after the Easter Holidays, when the weather is better and more children are likely to walk to school.

“We’ll be in touch with the school to arrange a further assessment after Easter, and as before we will arrange it on a day which suits the school best and so it can be added to a newsletter so parents can be made aware.

“We have also made our Road Safety Officer aware of the situation so she will be in touch with the school to offer road safety education for the children.”