Pupils question lollipop policy
YOUNG politicians confronted councillors to demand answers over controversial plans to axe their school lollipop wardens.
Fourteen pupils from Milton Primary were granted a meeting amid Stoke-on-Trent City Council's budget meeting, during which £21 million of cuts were sanctioned.
The measures mean most of the city's lollipop crossing patrols face redundancy, with the council claiming pelican crossings serve the same purpose.
But Jack Barber, aged 11, chairman of his school council, lead calls for the council to rethink its unpopular plan.
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The youngster, who lives in Milton, said: "We talked to the council about the difficulties faced by children when they are coming to and from school because of the busy junction, lack of warning signs, a bus stop and a high volume of traffic.
"All these are very worrying because we do not feel safe as drivers often come too fast or do not see us in time because of the high level of congestion."
The children discussed their concerns with Lord Mayor Terry Crowe and councillor Alan Dutton, cabinet member for education.
Xara Gribble, aged 10, vice chairman of the school council, from Norton Heights said: "We particularly needed to discuss our concern about the removal of our crossing patrol attendants. It was a lifetime opportunity and it gave us the opportunity to discuss our concerns."
Among the postitions under threat is lollipop man Fred Perry, aged 65, of Adam Street, Milton, who patrols Bagnall Road.
Jayne Barber, aged 43, of Norbury Avenue, Milton, could also face redundancy.
Headteacher Jean Meredith told The Sentinel that the school are now waiting for the final decision before deciding whether they will use the school budget to keep their wardens on.
She said: "The children value their education and they raised concerns with the council that funding would have to come out of the school budget put aside for school improvements.
"Without a crossing patrol the children will not be safe and that is why they wanted to speak with councillors directly."
In total, 43 lollipop crossing wardens are under threat at 37 schools as part of the council's cuts programme for teh forthcoming financial year.
Jack Brereton, Conservative councillor for Baddeley, Milton and Norton said: "This authority clearly does not see the safety of school children as a priority."
The students were also given a tour of the Lord Mayor's chambers before beginning their debate.
However, councillor Alan Dutton challenged the children over their concerns.
He said: "When asked, all the children knew how to use a pelican crossing. It is a lollipop person that is automatic."