School's petition to save lollipop man rejected by Stoke-on-Trent City Council
PARENTS and teachers are fighting to keep their school lollipop man – but council managers have rejected their petition.
More than 40 people with children at Norton Primary School put their names down in a bid to keep crossing warden, Paul Amison.
Mr Amison, who is also a caretaker at the school, works at the crossing where Norton Lane meets Knypersley Road. Parents say he is 'invaluable'.
However, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has rejected the petition due to a lack of full names on the document.
Headteacher of Norton Primary, Chris Dean, said: "The bottom line is the health and safety of children at this school.
"Unfortunately people wrote their addresses and signed their names without printing them which apparently doesn't count.
"It still makes the point though – clearly we have plenty of people here who don't want to see Paul go."
Education officials want to remove 43 lollipop men and women to save £101,000-a-year.
Mr Dean, who has been headteacher of the school for 15 years, said the council expects the school to fund a crossing warden from its budget.
He added: "I don't think it should come out of the school budget to protect children offsite, because that's what the council should be doing."
Mr Amison, aged 59, said: "The main problem with this crossing is that cars go through on amber lights and then sit on the crossing.
"People have to weave around the traffic to cross the road, and people just don't spot the little children.
"I think people realise how important it is to have an extra pair of eyes on a crossing like this.
"You get to know all the families. It would be a shame if I couldn't do it anymore."
Stephanie Simpson's daughter Katline, aged eight, crosses the road every day on her way to the school.
She said: "I was happy to sign the petition because I think it's outrageous the council are cutting crossing warden jobs.
"They're an extra pair of eyes. Some parents have pushchairs or several kids or are disabled. They might not be able to stop their kids pushing the button and running out into the road."
Stephanie added: "Mr Amison is such a lovely man. It's reassuring to know he's there in the morning and afternoon. He always gives Katline a high five when she crosses the road."
Cindy Jones, from Weston, said: "Of course you need a crossing warden. Only this morning I saw a car run a red light on the crossing."
Karen Hancock, aged 33, from Talke, added: "Paul is really useful. Any parent who has more than one child will be grateful to have him."
A consultation by the city council over crossing warden jobs closed on Friday.
City councillor Alan Dutton, cabinet member for education, pictured below, said: "Crossing patrols are under review because they are non-statutory positions. Only sites where traffic conditions do not merit a warden, or those with a permanent pedestrian crossing, are being considered.
"The public and schools will be given the option to pay for wardens on these sites from their own budgets.
"Sites which meet the criteria, but do not have a permanent crossing, will remain."