Pupil Power: Bring back our lollipop patrol say Forton school pupils

Pupils at a Lancashire Primary school took a lesson on political democracy to heart - and created their own road safety campaign.

By Fiona Finch
Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 10:53 am

The 17 youngsters from Pendle Class at Forton Primary School, near Garstang, have created a petition calling for the reinstatement of a lollipop crossing patrol on the busy A6 route at Forton, near Garstang.

Headteacher Lorna Boase said pupils had been inspired to lobby for change after a visit to Parliament and a talk by local MP Cat Smith.

She said: "We used to have a lollipop lady up until 2016 then she retired.Then Lancashire (County Council) suggested if our school wanted another one we would have to pay for it... There hasn't been one for some time."

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Pendle pupils campaigning for the return of a lollipop crossing a patrol to the busy A6 at Forton, near Garstang are pictured with headteacher Lorna Boase and form teacher Patrick Haley

She said the school did not have the funds for this expense and an added impact was that the warning lights about chidren crossing the busy highway were no longer activated because the lollipop lady used to switch them on and off.

Lorna said: "It's that extra level of security has not been there. We've a couple of families now who do cross the road (to get to school)."

She said the crossing point is in a 50 mph zone and on a bend between two bus stops and the pupils' concern was not just for the junior school pupils but for ex-pupils too with high school pupils also having to cross the road.

She added: "It's something we've been aware of and talked about as a community on and off over the years. Then it was Parliamentary Week two weeks ago and Pendle class went to London."

The trip was followed by Cat Smith's visit to the school.

Lorna said: "I asked her to talk about protest and lobbying and how it fits in with democracy. Cat was trying to get the children to come up with things they want to change in their own community. One was more bins on the canal, the other was the lollipop lady. We started our petition and we're going to send it off to Cat Smith who is going to present it to the county council."

She added that another solution to the safety issues would be to install a pelican crossing.

She said: " It's about making the children understand that they have a voice. They might not be able to vote yet but they can still affect change and affect their community. Hopefully in the long term they'll vote if they realise they have power - we all have power with the ability to vote."

Lorna said the pupils would be making posters as part of their campaign.

The petition is available to sign at St James Church at Forton or contact the head.

Lancashire County Council said this week that it will visit the site "in coming weeks" to change the school crossing warning lights to operate automatically each morning and afternoon.

However the pupils face a longer battle to get a crossing patrol reinstated. A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: "When the school crossing patrol retired in 2016 we carried out an assessment to see if the location met the required criteria to continue with a school crossing patrol, however it was found this was no longer needed due to the relatively small number of students wishing to cross.

"We recently carried out a further assessment at the request of the Parish Council which found that the site does not meet our criteria for establishing a school crossing patrol as only a maximum of 10 senior children wished to cross at either the start or the end of the school day."

* Cat Smith is a co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy which is campaigning for better citizenship education: "so that young people regardless of background, can play an informed, active role as citizens in our democracy." She is also shadow minister for young people and democracy. For more information about Cat's work to increase the political literacy of school pupils see here* The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here.