Safety fears prompt parents to step into road crossing patrols
CHILDREN crossing a busy main road are at increased risk when walking to school, because other roads have been prioritised while a crossing patroller is off sick.
Pupils walking from the south of Lundavra Road up to Upper Achintore, following the changeover from Fort William primary school, have been without a lollipop lady for almost two weeks.
Instead, parents are walking onto Lundavra Road and stopping traffic themselves to allow groups of children to cross safely.
There are currently two crossing patrollers outside the school, one on Ross Place and one on Lochaber Road.
Nicola MacMillan is a parent who walks to school. She has not been affected by the current situation, but is concerned for others.
Mrs MacMillan said: ‘I have one child at primary school and I walk down from Lochaber Road. I heard someone was off sick, but you’d think they’d put a police officer or warden in place to keep the children safe. When the new school opens, it will affect me directly. I don’t see why they should have two right outside the school and none on the main road, it makes no sense to me. I have a friend who has been having to stop in the middle of the road to let her kids cross.’
Pupils are set to move once more from the school, formerly known as Upper Achintore, into the new Lundavra building at the beginning of October.
Two mums, who preferred to remain anonymous, also said they were going to contact the school. One said: ‘There are work vans and road works on this road. It is dangerous for the kids.’
The other lady said: ‘They are far too small to be crossing this road themselves without help and regard for their safety.’
Nick Thomson, headteacher at Lundavra primary school, said: ‘I have had one parent come to complain about this issue. We have three controllers here and one is off on absence. The two people we have positioned are in places that are most in need. We are looking at replacing the third person, but it can be difficult to get someone to do the hours necessary, morning, lunchtime and after school.
‘While it is unfortunate, we do have more children crossing at Lochaber Road. We have over 100, which is far more than those coming from Lundavra.’
There are currently 15 pupils crossing at Lundavra Road every day, and Mr Thomson did confirm that there would be a member of staff in place on the opening of the new school.
A spokesperson from Highland council said: ‘One of the school crossing patrollers is on sick leave, so until a relief member of staff can be secured, the headteacher allocated the Lundavra Road/Connochie Road crossing to a patroller and asked for a census which showed 15 pupils were using this crossing.
‘As the other crossing has over 100 pupils, the headteacher made a risk-based assessment and moved the patroller to the busy crossing. The headteacher will be in contact with all parents who have children in the Grange Terrace/ Road area to advise that there will be no crossing patroller at present.’
FEARS: lollipop lady absence is putting lives at risk claim parents