Croydon parents protest as lollipop patrols face the chop
Parents, teachers and children have launched a campaign to save their school crossing patrols as the council prepares to give them the axe.
Ten of Croydon's 'lollipop' men and women could face redundancy, sparking fears over pupil safety at schools located by some of the borough's most dangerous roads.
Staff were served with letters last week notifying them that their jobs were at risk as Croydon Council looks to slash spending on crossing patrols by £60,000.
The council says it will only cut patrols where zebra crossings are in place, but parents fear the safety of their children will still be compromised.
The Crescent Primary School in Selhurst stands to lose two nearby patrols, on Northcote Road and Sydenham Road.
Jo Wittams, whose five-year-old son Oscar attends the school, said: "Even with the lollypop lady there it is still dangerous. People are racing up to the lights.
"I have even seen cars swerve past the lollypop lady when she is in the middle of the crossing."
Ms Wittams, 34, of Limes Road, said: "There's a real feeling that these people are needed. Is the amount of the money that will be saved worth the potential for a really serious incident with a child?
"Obviously as parents we take the view that it is not."
She added: "It is irresponsible. It is Croydon's responsibility to keep its children safe."
Jane Fairbourn, the school's headteacher, warned the loss of the patrols could result in a child's death
She said: "We are very concerned. They are vital in keeping our children safe.
"We are in the middle of two very busy roads and the traffic comes thundering down and I have no doubt would pay no mind to a little person.
"If a child was to be hit by a car we would be looking at serious injuries or even worse, a fatality."
Parents have launched a petition against the cuts, which were announced as part of an £36m savings package last month.
Croydon Council's consultation on the overall package ends tomorrow.
A council spokesman said after the announcement of the cuts: "Croydon has over 100 schools and at present only 22 of them have a crossing patrol service. This number has gradually been reduced since the function was passed to the council from the Metropolitan Police some years ago.
"Ten of the remaining patrolled sites now have automated or zebra crossings, and it is these where we are considering their future.
"The number of staff who may be affected by this proposal has yet to be fully assessed as this will follow a consultation with the team."
You can sign the petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-selhursts-school-crossing-patrol.html