Friday, 1 October 2010

Childrens safety- cut it!

Just a short note but a full blog post to follow later in the week - just heard that the Tories are not going to replace our Road Crossing Patrol at Sidegate School in November. It looks like when a Crossing patrol man or lady leaves they will not be replaced, no risk assessment to see how dangerous the road is, just cut, cut, cut.
Sidegate Lane is one of the busiest roads in Ipswich,Sidegate is the biggest Primary School in the town, this will just make it more dangerous for pupils and their parents plus snarl the town up with traffic even more.
Children from at least 6 school's (plus at least 3 playschools) use this crossing. How stupid can the Tories get?
Judy Terry out Tory Councilor in the ward is on the County Cabinet who are planning these cuts, so don't let her try and blame others.
Over the next week I will be trying to get as much support from parents as possible and then I will be writing to the County Council.
Please support where you can, in the end we will have no Road Crossing Patrols in Suffolk.
The wages of all the Crossing Patrols in Suffolk will still be less than the Tories pay Andrea Hill, their County Chief Executive!


Anonymous said...

I am the crossing patrol for Sidegate Lane school and I would like to comment on why I am leaving the post. When I began the job, in Jan 2008, I enjoyed it although I did receive some verbal abuse from drivers and cyclists. However, as time went on, the number of pedestrians increased dramatically and I reported this to the school. They did not seem concerned. By the middle of 2009 I was receiving abuse, cars were revving up behind me and in front of me, one coming up onto the crossing. But the worst thing was the speed the cars were doing. By June of this year I was so concerned about the crossing that I spoke to management. I told them no count had been done on the number of pedestrians using the crossing and was told that it was only necessary to do one a year. When I began the job, a count was done once every half term but nobody had told me it had decreased! To only do one count a year on a crossing outside the biggest primary school in ipswich was, in my opinion, almost bordering on negligence!
I had had the police to the crossing and told them the problems I was having but they did not seem interested at all. It got to the stage where I stopped reporting incidents because I did not feel that the school or management were taking me seriously. The mums, apparently, although unknown to me at the time, had been going in to the school and saying they did not not know how I did the job, it was so dangerous. Did the school contact anybody? No.
The job is now, unfortunately, far too dangerous. Speed cameras should have been put up ages ago and all I can say is that I am leaving while my life is intact.

Anonymous said...

I am the husband of the Lollipop lady who resigned. The publicity that followed focused upon this being a victim of the Suffolk Council cuts. My wife thoroughly enjoyed her job and her contribution to the community and felt she was appreciated by the parents. She feels extremely guilty about leaving let alone discovering her departure will leave everyone in the lurch. Unlike her I have not been told not to talk to the Councillors, parents and media. She is ransomed for her job reference. For the past 3 years she was told that all the patrols would come together for formal training - this never happened! She has reported numerous incidents to both Council and the school and has never seen any action. The point she makes which has gone unreported is that of an alarming trend. The number of people using the crossing has significantly increased, as has the number of near misses. The speed of motorists despite the traffic calming measures has increased. With more people crossing the patience of some drivers cannot be contained. Modern cars get up to speed far quicker and have to brake hard at the crossing. On occasions motorists overtake queues driving on the wrong side of the road and push aside anyone still on the crossing. However cyclists are just as irresponsible cutting between the public as they cross - not just the kids on the way to Northgate. The spandex brigade seems to think they alone own the roads, pavements and every thing in between. Then if the fear of accident is not enough there is the abuse. The gesticulating, the outpouring of expletives all with children only yards away. I would not dream of running through a zebra crossing while people were on it and nor would I endanger primary school children in this totally irresponsible way.
My wife's confidence in both her safety and the kids has disappeared. This last week has seen exceptional interest in the crossing with the supervisor turning up. The Police sent a community officer who felt moved to comment on the near miss he observed but did not take the registration or command a presence to calm down the passing traffic. When the next near miss took place he had his back to the road conversing with parents. Yesterday any remaining Goodwill disappeared. She was verbally abused by a motorist as she crossed her charges and reported this to her manager. The response she got was disgusting - her manager laughed it off saying she was lucky to have a hump to stand on at her crossing as many of the patrol staff have nothing. The lack of training, such attitude, failure to note changes in trends, lack of planning and not being seen to tackle reported incidents does little to suggest that the patrol staff are being actively supported.
The problem is very real, the dangers to the patrol staff and those using these crossings is very real. The risks at the various crossing sites will change considerably. The opinions of the crossing staff themselves can easily be confirmed or otherwise by the collection of statistics and from contact with the parent users and school. The solutions are never easy, given the organisations involved. However the problem itself needs to be owned - by the School, by Suffolk Council, Ipswich Council if responsible for the roads and signage and the Police. It is this lack of ownership that has frustrated my wife with seemingly no desire to pull together all these parties to discuss solutions or even agree there is a problem.
I am saddened that she has left her job because I know she took great pride from doing her job to the best of her abilities. However I endorse her decision she was being slowly backed into a corner that when the inevitable accident occurs she felt she would be held as the scapegoat.
I wish the Councillor and governors every success in seeking both a replacement and some resolutions to the underlying problems. I would urge however that this should not be seen as a political issue but should stand on its own merits as to what the local community expects for the safeguarding of the generations to follow.