Campaign launched to save school crossing service in Harlesden

Parents, teachers and pupils are fighting against the decision not to replace the Lollipop Lady at J

Parents, teachers and pupils are fighting against the decision not to replace the Lollipop Lady at John Keble School in Harlesden. - Credit: Archant

Brent Council are refusing to replace lollipop lady who is retiring

Parents and teachers have launched a campaign to save a school crossing service which helps keep more than 1,000 pupils safe.

John Keble School, in Crownhill Road, Harlesden, is protesting against Brent Council’s decision not to replace lollipop lady Agnes O’Callaghan after she announced her retirement.

It says that the two-lane road often has lorries and emergency service cars speeding down it towards the North Circular Road.

The school says that with Maple Walk Primary School and The Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College both on the same road more than 1,000 young pupils could potentially be put at risk.

Alison Loffler, headteacher at John Keble, who has helped set up a petition against the decision, said: “Cars travel very fast down this road and we have had to introduce a number of safety measures over the years. The council say it’s too much to afford, and the road is low priority, but what price a child’s life?”

Last year, Brent Council announced it would only continue to fund crossing patrols on “priority routes” and any staff who left or retired on non-priority routes would not be replaced.

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According to the council it costs £6,000 per year to fund the service and John Keble was asked if it would like to fund it.

Ms Loffler said: “A public service like this should be provided by the local authority, not a school. The council needs to reassess what is a priority route because we are all confused as to why this one isn’t.”

Mother Susie Riley, who lives in Harlesden, expressed concerns for her two children. She said: “I am appalled by the decision. Brent needs to reconsider their status of the road – do we have to wait until a child is run over?”

Year three pupil, Adil, eight, said: “It’s really hard to lose our lollipop lady because she is a big part of our school.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “We carried out a detailed and careful review of school crossing patrols with the aim of concentrating our limited resources on providing them where they are really needed. Children at John Keble cross at Manor Park Road, and should be able to do so safely because it is a one-way street with a Pelican crossing.”