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Headteacher becomes lollipop lady as council will not fund replacement

PUBLISHED: 14:53 06 October 2010

Tania Johnson Head Teacher at Horringer Court Middle School in Bury St Edmunds is doubling up as the lollipop lady, before and after school.

Tania Johnson Head Teacher at Horringer Court Middle School in Bury St Edmunds is doubling up as the lollipop lady, before and after school.

Archant

A HEADTEACHER is having to carry out school crossing patrol duties because Suffolk’s education bosses will not replace a lollipop man.

Tania Johnson, headteacher at Horringer Court Middle School, Bury St Edmunds, is picking up the lollipop and donning a flourescent jacket and boots to ensure her pupils are safe.

The school’s leadership team decided to take the role on a voluntary basis after Suffolk County Council told them they would not be replacing the school’s lollipop man who retired on Friday.

Mrs Johnson said: “We got together and decided it was a crossing that needed to be manned and our premise here is if the children are happy and safe they will learn, so we thought it was important they could safely arrive.”

Now as well as running the school in Glastonbury Road, the busy headteacher doubles up as a crossing patrol warden, taking it in turns with assistant headteachers Donna Higgins and Rita Page and cover supervisor Andy Price.

Mrs Johnson said it was “very important” to have a manned crossing outside the school as the road could get quite busy with traffic going to the hospital, and school traffic itself.

She said: “We are a middle school but our youngest children are only nine and they do need to be seen across and, at the end of the day, children do like to run out of school.”

Although having to fit in being a lollipop lady with being a headteacher was a “nightmare”, she said it was nice to greet the children. “It’s such a nice exercise to do really. The children were doing double takes.”

Mrs Johnson said the leadership team had agreed to take over the service until March, which is when the county council – which provided the team with training and equipment – has told them the situation will be reviewed.

County councillor Craig Dearden-Phillips, who represents the Horringer Court estate and is also chairman of governors at the school, said “This is a sign of the times we are in when we are forced to use well-paid teachers and managers to help our children cross the road.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “Suffolk County Council appreciates the dedication and commitment of all school crossing patrol staff.

“The service is currently under review as part of the council’s New Strategic Direction and, like all other services, it is subject to recruitment restrictions.

“Where there are changes to crossing patrol arrangements at a particular school we ask the school to inform their parents as ultimately, it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children get to school safely.”

12 comments

  • To all you ignorant, typically 'middle suffolk' types who think that just because teachers are paid by the council they are subject to the petty grumbles of the public, let me tell you, you're damn lucky this Head's principles include leaving her place of work to see children across the road. It's not hers nor any other teachers job to do that. This Head may well be paid twice as much as you but from the looks of things, she's worth it. (Agreed, PC Plod)

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    Will

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

  • A friend of mine used to be a school governor in a different county. There the lollipop lady was paid for out of the school budget, just like other school staff. I suppose the alternative is that we all pay more in council tax. We know the council is facing 30% cuts whilst having to face increases in needs. These cuts are going to hurt, across the board. Anything the county doesn't have to pay for, they won't. And if the headteacher wants to play headlines like this that is up to them but it doesn't do her or the kids any good.

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    Paul Norton

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • bet she earns two people's salaries anyhow!

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    opinion

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • So we can't afford a lollipop lady but we can afford Andrea Hill, a spin doctor and a whole host of directors and assistant directors. Something is rotten in the state of Suffolk!

    Report this comment

    Dee G

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • Shouldn't this be one of the jobs a volunteer be doing?

    Report this comment

    zaax

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • To all you ignorant, typically 'middle suffolk' types who think that just because teachers are paid by the council they are subject to the petty grumbles of the public, let me tell you, you're damn lucky this Head's principles include leaving her place of work to see children across the road. It's not hers nor any other teachers job to do that. This Head may well be paid twice as much as you but from the looks of things, she's worth it. (Agreed, PC Plod)

    Report this comment

    Will

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

  • I think that this shows how little SCC value education in that a head teacher or her staff have to be diverted to do this, especially through the winter. The county also appears to care little for the safety of children.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • A sign of the times to come I'm afraid. SCC is hell bent on going ahead with its madcap "divestment" plans even though it does not have a mandate to do this from the local electorate.

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    Ipswich Red

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • opinion you miss the point...this is another example of how little Tory-controlled SCC value the lives of their citizens.If the Head hadn't decided to do this, then the children would be at risk...what it does show is the dedication to children's welfare that our school staff have. The problem is that this sets a precedent and some bright (not) spark at SCC will decide that all Heads can do this, thus putting dozens of school crossing patrol staff out of a job. Then as PC Plod says...whose job next? I think it would be great though to see Andrea Hi££ out and about doing some real work for a change!

    Report this comment

    Dogberry

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • As a mum and a teacher myself, I am completely thankful that this headteacher has stepped forward, giving up her own time to volunteer for this act! The SCC has cut the budget and so somebody had to step forward. Now that the profile has been raised, perhaps some of the parents nearby will put themsleves forward to help. Such a duty occurs after school and so the students are not any worse off if the headteacher supervises them crossing the street - it is the same as doing a bus duty (which most senior teachers do anyway). Personally, I think we shouldn't moan about her decision; instead focus on praising such a selfless act!

    Report this comment

    BuryMum

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • Evenin' all. This is typically short-sighted of SCC. Whilst it's laudable that this head teacher has put herself forward to keep the children safe like this, her valuable time would be better spent elsewhere - that's why we pay teachers more than crossing patrol staff. How far will SCC let this go? If we had teachers cooking school meals, mopping floors, cutting the grass on the playing field etc then clearly that would not be an effective use of resources. You don't see Andrea Hill driving a dustcart - although I can't help wondering how many bin-men or lollipop ladies her salary would pay for!

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    PC Plod

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

  • ummm hang on, what is she currenly earning for her how-many-hours per day job? sure she can help kids cross the road without being out of pocket! its prob twice what most of us earn working 9 hours per day ALL year, not only term time!

    Report this comment

    opinion

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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