Schools win fight to keep lollipop ladies
PARENTS are celebrating after three lollipop ladies' jobs were saved – despite a further 40 being axed as part of controversial council cuts.
Hundreds of families across Stoke-on-Trent have been campaigning to keep the wardens ever since the city council announced the positions were being reviewed.
But most were left disappointed after council chiefs pressed ahead with plans to make 40 wardens redundant.
Instead, the council has told schools they must find volunteers or pay existing staff using their own budgets.
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However, lollipop patrols at crossings near to St Teresa's Catholic Primary School, in Trent Vale; Gladstone Primary, in Longton; and St Augustine's Primary, in Meir, were deemed too dangerous to lose.
Heather Rawson has been helping pupils at Gladstone Primary to safely cross the road for nearly 19 years.
The 56-year-old is one of three wardens whose jobs are no longer at risk as part of the council's proposals, which they say will save £101,000 per year.
Heather said: "I am very happy to be staying. I love my job, the parents, children and teachers have been behind me 100 per cent. I am so grateful.
"I feel really sorry for the others and my heart goes out to them. I wouldn't like to think of anyone getting hurt and I think it would be dangerous anywhere with children crossing."
Claire Oliver, aged 30, from Longton, who walks her two girls, aged eight and ten to the school each morning, said: "I think she is needed here, it's a busy road and the younger children tend to get excited and try to run across.
"Heather is a brilliant warden. She knows everyone and she always has a smile on her face."
Elsewhere, more than 500 people had signed a petition calling on the council to reconsider its plans to axe the crossing warden in near St Teresa's Primary in Trent Vale.
Headteacher Sarah Cumbo said: "Everyone at the school welcomes the news. The crossing patrol is highly valued to our community and necessary, given the level of traffic. We are thrilled.
"When Wendy Bailey, our lollipop lady, heard, she was very excited. The thought of our children crossing four lanes of traffic is totally unacceptable."
St Augustine's RC Primary School Head teacher, Ed Byrne, said: "It's really unfortunate that so many schools will not have the same community service that is so valuable."