Dozens of streets have been left without school crossing wardens – because of a shortage of lollipop men and women.
Latest Staffordshire County Council figures show 30 positions remain unfilled – including 12 across Newcastle borough.
It comes just two years after the council failed in its attempt to stop funding school crossing patrols following objections from thousands of parents and children.
A council report states: “A full review of the school crossing patrol service was carried out in 2018/19 to inform saving proposals. Following consideration of feedback from consultations with schools, communities and staff, the decision was made not to implement the savings and to continue with the service on a business-as-usual basis.
“Each site is routinely assessed against national criteria on a biennial basis and, in addition, each site is reviewed when the incumbent patrol has resigned or retired. Despite community support for the service, it is often difficult to recruit to vacancies.
The crossing patrol vacancies across North Staffordshire include:
- The junction of Priory Road and Abbots Way, in The Westlands;
- Pepper Street, in Silverdale;
- The junction of Knutton Lane and Ashfields New Road, in Newcastle;
- Church Lane, in Wolstanton;
- Two vacancies on Alexandra Road, Wolstanton;
- Newcastle Road, in Loggerheads;
- Clayton Lane, in Clayton;
- The junction of Seabridge Lane and Roe Lane, in Clayton;
- Two vacancies at the junction of High Street and Upper Marsh, in May Bank;
- Leek Road, in Endon;
Church Lane, in Endon;
Wallbridge Drive, in Leek;
The junction of Spring Gardens and Burton Street, in Leek;
St Leonard’s Primary School, in Stafford;
Great Haywood, near Stafford;
St Filumena’s Catholic Primary School, in Caverswall.
“The number of vacancies fluctuates on a week-by-week basis and there are currently 30 across Staffordshire.
“There are currently 12 mobile relief patrols who are deployed on a priority basis across the county to cover predominantly short term and emergency absences of the regular patrols.
“Recruitment is currently taking place to increase the number of mobile patrols to 15. Schools are contacted by the service to inform them of any absences or vacancies on their local patrol points so parents and carers can be made aware.”
But Councillor Charlotte Atkins has described the current recruiting measures as ‘half-hearted’.
She added: “My concern is we have a list of 30 vacancies and only 12 mobile patrols.
“I don’t think it’s tolerable for teachers to have to do that job, which is what’s happening in one of my schools to keep the children safe.
“If we believe school crossing patrols are necessary then we should ensure we have enough mobile patrols to fill these gaps.”