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St George's CofE School in Minster left without lollipop lady as KCC employs crossing instructors

Kent County Council is recruiting three school crossing patrol instructors at a salary of up to £16,800 despite refusing to replace a part-time lollipop lady on one of Sheppey’s busiest roads.

Mandy Beeton stepped down in the summer after years of service at Minster’s St George’s Primary School.

KCC said the school no longer qualifies for lollipop lady funding as parents and children can use the zebra crossing in Chequers Road.

Mandy Beeton was a lollipop lady in Minster for seven years - but will not be replaced
Mandy Beeton was a lollipop lady in Minster for seven years - but will not be replaced

But now it’s been revealed the county council is looking to employ three instructors, who must monitor crossing patrols in areas that still have them, liaise with schools, train teams by the roadside, write risk assessments and “contribute to casualty reductions”.

All three positions are permanent but operate for only 38 weeks of the year during term time and are for 18.5 hours a week.

Charlotte Owen, KCC’s safer mobility team leader, said: “While it is parents’ responsibility to get their child safely to school, the county council does support this by providing road crossing patrols where the level of traffic and pedestrian demand meets the minimum national criteria.”

KCC employs crossing patrollers
KCC employs crossing patrollers

Referring to the St George’s decision, she said: “I appreciate not replacing the patrol may be having an impact on parents and children and we have been working with the school to provide information on the correct use of the zebra crossing.

“This has included providing hand-outs and offering a road safety talk to the children.

“We have spoken to the school and said they can choose to fund a replacement crossing patrol person themselves should they wish and we would provide the training and monitoring to ensure they act in accordance with the law to stop traffic.”

She added: “As drivers know, it is an offence to drive across a zebra crossing when there is a pedestrian on it.”

Howard Fisher, head teacher, declined to comment on the row, although in October after Mrs Beeton’s resignation he did contact KCC to see if he could get the decision overturned.

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