SAFETY-CONSCIOUS pupils have launched their own appeal for sponsorship to help pay for a lollipop lady outside their school as they fear someone could get killed.
In a heartfelt letter sent to businesses, junior road safety officers at Laughton Junior and Infant School pleaded for money to help raise the £3,000 needed to fund a crossing patrol.
The appeal comes after Rotherham Borough Council said School Road outside the school in Laughton-en-le-Morthen was selected as one of seven lollipop points to lose its funding from the end of this month as it did not meet the criteria required for a patrol to be necessary.
Road safety officers Cairo Hopewell and Sophie Bell said in the letter that the school “was on a really busy road that people usually speed on” and that they were “worried about someone getting injured or even killed”.
Head teacher Emma Gill said: “The difficulty is I don’t want to cut it and the governors don’t want to cut it - it’s the most difficult decision the governors have ever had to make but we definitely can’t afford to do it, it would mean cutting staff in school.
“So we asked the council to give us an accurate figure and they said it would be around £3,000 for the year, which doesn’t seem like anything but we just can’t fund it.”
Mrs Gill said School Road was the main route in and out of Laughton and parents had raised safety concerns about the crossing patrol being cut.
“The issue is that as you approach the village it’s national speed limit and the first thing you come to when you come into the village is the school,” Mrs Gill said.
“It goes from 60mph to 30mph and there’s no way you can drop to 30mph without slamming the brakes on.
“The school crossing patrol is only about 20 to 30 metres from the national speed limit sign.”
Cairo and Sophie have sent out letters to businesses in and around Laughton and parents have also been asked to help.
Mrs Gill said: “We have contacted a few businesses who have said they’ll see what they can do to help.
“But the funding runs out on March 31 so it’s very much needed now. Anything and everything people can do to help is appreciated.”
Matt Turner, whose two children Lilly (8) and Harvey (5) are both pupils at the school, said it would be “positive” for businesses to step in.
He added: “I started at Laughton Junior and Infant School myself in 1984 and there has always been a crossing patrol.
“There was nowhere near the volume of traffic back then.
“The traffic has increased but they have cut the crossing patrol which is a worry for me with two children there.”
A Rotherham Borough Council spokeswoman said: “Following last year’s budget cuts, an independent survey of 74 council-funded patrol points across the borough was carried out and identified 21 sites that did not meet the national criteria a school crossing patrol (Road Safety GB criteria) \_ Laughton was one of these schools.
“Following the outcome of the survey, an extended period of consultation was undertaken with all the schools identified.
“Each school, including Laughton, was offered the opportunity to fund the service, working with the council.
“We understand Laughton School is currently seeking sponsorship for its school crossing patrol and the council would be happy to review the situation if the school was able to progress with this.”