A pair of Bexhill schools have moved a step closer to losing their lollipop ladies.
From next Spring pupils heading to and from King Offa Junior School and St Mary Magdelene Primary School may have to do so without a supervised crossing as East Sussex County Council tries to save £140,000 by axing lollipop ladies across the county.
Earlier this month the Observer revealed the two local schemes had been earmarked for the chop and the local authority has since agreed to push ahead with the controversial plans.
There will now be a three month-long consultation between county hall, schools and parents after the mooted cuts were moved to the next stage at a recent council meeting during which councillors were told there are 36 patrols across East Sussex which don’t meet the strict criteria for funding.
Guidelines look at a host of factors, including the number of pupils crossing, the direction they walk from and the traffic levels at peak times. However, parents of youngsters attending either King Offa or St Mary Magdalene are unlikely to be convinced of the merits of removing the crossing help.
And the schools themselves have already spoken out of the importance of their lollipop teams. Both schools will now consider the best way to respond to the consultation, while East Sussex County Council has said it will listen carefully to any opposition to the plans before making a final decision.
If both schools do lose their funding – which currently covers the cost of uniforms, equipment and salary – they could still try and rescue the crossing patrols.
A number of lollipop ladies in East Sussex are now run by volunteers or sponsored by local businesses.
A spokesman for the council said: “Anybody from the parish council, schools and parents’ groups to local groups and businesses can sponsor a crossing patrol and we will be happy to discuss this option with interested groups, both for crossing that meet the criteria and those that don’t.”
They said that tough – and possibly unpopular decisions – were needed to address a drop in funding from government and pressure to save millions of pounds across the council’s various departments.