Funding To Continue For School Crossing Patrols

School crossing patrols will continue to be funded by the council as part of a public health initiative to encourage more children to walk to school.

Funding of the non-statutory service was under review as part of the council’s essential budget savings. The proposal, under which schools’ budgets and other funds would be used to fund the service, was set to save the council £395,000 a year.

But now, council bosses have stepped in to continue to fund the service next year as part of a drive to encourage children to lead more healthy lives by making walking part of their daily routine. Funding for the service will continue in 2017/18 as part of a public health initiative, with schools working closely with the council to promote healthy eating, walking to and from school and further committing to the active travel agenda.

A consultation with schools which currently use the council-funded service, at an estimated cost of £30 per pupil, was undertaken in October and November. A paper detailing the results of this was set to go to scrutiny committee on Monday 30 January. However, following feedback that there was a strong desire to keep the service, the council has looked at alternative ways of funding the crossing patrol, while consultation with schools and all political groups continues, to see how the service can be made sustainable long term. The move also follows continued cross-party work on the budget setting process. This alternative proposal will go to scrutiny later in the year.

Over the coming year, while the funding is in place, the public health team will be working with schools, children and parents to establish how many children currently walk to school, what would encourage more to do so and the role that school crossing patrols play in enabling children to walk to school. Councillor Hilary Bills, cabinet member for environmental services, said:

“The proposal to explore alternative funding with schools for the service was not something we proposed lightly, which is why we undertook the original consultation to see whether this was viable.

“Some residents have asked us to continue to fund the service, and while both local authorities and schools continue to face challenges as a result of reduced government funding, we have listened to their concerns and have found a way to fund the service for at least a further year as part of a healthy schools initiative.”

Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member for public health, added:

“This is an issue that people are clearly passionate about, and we’ve listened to their concerns and are proposing an alternative option. We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to work with colleagues in public health to fund school crossing patrols as part of a wider drive to improve the health of our children by encouraging them to walk to and from school. This is especially important as our levels of childhood obesity are higher than they should be.

“Our aim with this new proposal is to make our school communities healthier and happier while also taking more cars off the roads and easing congestion and improving air quality around schools at peak times.”

 The revised proposal will go to scrutiny committee later in the year.


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