U-turn on school crossing patrols welcomed

Axminster RCPrimary School lollipop man Dave Swift's job is safe. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Axminster RCPrimary School lollipop man Dave Swift's job is safe. Picture: CHRIS CARSON - Credit: Archant

Axminster parents celebrate successful ‘Save Dave’ campaign to keep their lollipop man Dave Swift

Parents at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Axminster are celebrating today after plans to axe their lollipop man were shelved.

Devon County Council leader John Hart announced a u-turn over proposals to make schools pay for their own crossing patrols.

The authority had planned to save £250,000 as part of its £26 million budget cuts for 2016/17.

But, since the budget meeting earlier this month, Cllr Hart has received considerably more feedback from Devon families and schools than in either of the formal public consultations on the issue last year.

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He said: “Since the budget meeting on February 18, I have been contacted by hundreds of parents and grandparents. I have listened to these families and all the other people, including schools, who have been in contact to say: ‘Please keep our patrols’.

“I have heard from a lot of mums and dads who were deeply worried about their children’s safety and obviously that is paramount.

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“On reflection, I believe this was the wrong decision. Our budget is extremely tight but we will now find the money to fund the lollipop ladies and men.

“And I want to reassure all the people who have been in contact that – whilst I remain leader of this administration at County Hall – I will not re-introduce this measure.”

A spokeswoman for parents at St Mary’s RC School in Axminster who staged a roadside protest about the proposed cuts last week said: “We really welcome the decision and all the pupils are over the moon.

“Dave Swift is part of our community and as parents we trust him to keep our children safe.

“We never really understood why Devon County made the decision to cut funding for the patrols in the first place. In relative terms £250 000 is not a great deal of money when you consider the essential role school crossing patrols provide, keeping our children safe on their way to and from school each day.

“We would like to thank all the people of Axminster who have supported us and we would like to thank Cllr Hart for listening - better late than never!”

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