Bexhill MP becomes a ‘lollipop man’ to help highlight road safety issues at school

Huw Merriman MP hopes people in the community will consider taking on the role of 'lollipop' officer
Huw Merriman MP hopes people in the community will consider taking on the role of 'lollipop' officer

The MP for Bexhill used this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions to ask whether statutory requirements should be brought in to help deliver safe crossing points for schools.

Huw Merriman’s question followed his visit to Little Common School last Friday to discuss road safety.

Headteacher Linda Appleby contacted the MP after a pupil at the school was nearly hit by a car along Birkdale.

She says parents and staff are worried that a child may be killed or seriously injured on their way to or from school due to a lack of safe crossing points near the school.

The school previously had the support of two school crossing patrol officers but that support has been reduced as the county council has been unable to recruit anyone to fill these posts.

In order to help publicise these vacant posts, Mr Merriman donned the school crossing patrol uniform and with the help of some sensible pupils, two local PCSOs, Mrs Appleby and PTA member Jay Mather, they went out to the school crossing point on Birkdale where a ‘lollipop’ officer is needed to help children cross the road.

The MP said: “Road safety at schools is an issue that I feel passionately about. I am aware of at least three schools in my constituency where parents and staff feel that children’s lives are at risk on a daily basis – Little Common, Punnetts Town and Hurst Green. I believe it is time that statutory road safety requirements were introduced and enforced at all schools which is why I raised this at Prime Minister’s Questions.

“I am reassured my concerns were recognised by colleagues and I now look forward to meeting the Secretary of State for Transport to see how my proposal for statutory road safety requirements at schools can be taken forward.

“Since Little Common School first contacted me about their concerns, a further two near-misses on Birkdale involving school children have been witnessed. I am hopeful that some members of the Little Common community will consider applying for the role of school crossing patrol officer to help local children get to school safely.”

Mrs Appleby, said “I am very concerned about the recent near-misses involving our pupils and feel that more needs to be done to help improve road safety for our families on the busy roads around our school.

“I’m very grateful to our MP Huw Merriman and our local PCSOs, Neil Holden and Laura Harrison, for coming to the school to provide us with advice and support on road safety. I hope we are able to find some new school crossing patrol officers soon as the children really need and appreciate having someone to help them cross the road. It can be such a rewarding job.”

Anyone interested in applying for the crossing patrol jobs should call 01273 482293 or visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/educationandlearning/schools/transport/schoolcrossingpatrols/.

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