Dersingham School Crossing Patrol role: a commitment from Norfolk County Council

Dersingham School Crossing Patrol role: a commitment from Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Councillor for Dersingham Stuart Dark has informed Town and Around of his actions to address concerns about the School Crossing Patrol role for Dersingham Primary School.

Following our report on 4th April, Stuart Dark has shared his perspective with us. The original report can be read here:

Mr Dark, a retired police officer, says he takes road safety concerns seriously, demonstrable through his work leading the introduction of road safety improvements such as the installation of a £4000 pavement along Admiral’s Drive in 2022, a project that was paid for by his Local Member Fund to assist pedestrians going to and from the school.

At Dersingham Primary School’s request, Mr Dark has currently allocated £600 from his Local Member Fund to introduce safety barriers onto the footway at the school gate entrance with the intention of preventing children spilling on to the road. This project has been underway since earlier this year and a site visit with the school’s safeguarding lead is due to take place to decide on the required details.

Mr Dark explained that he last week discussed the concerns associated with the retirement of Dersingham’s School Crossing Patrol with relevant officers and cabinet members at Norfolk County Council, and intends to keep both the school’s link Governor and the Chair of the Parish Council involved in developments and updated on progress.

Mr Dark explained that, following the change in circumstances (the retirement of the current School Crossing Patrol), Norfolk County Council is obliged to perform a review of the continuing need for the role against national criteria. However, Mr Dark wants to assure parents that his representations of the risk at Dodd’s Hill junction have been recognised and a “firm commitment has already been given that the patrol will continue and a replacement attendant will be sought”.

WEB Map The School Crossing Patrol has been helping children cross a difficult road for over 20 years; NCC say 'a replacement attendant will be sought'

Following engagement from Mr Dark with the school and relevant teams, The Highways Department of Norfolk County Council are also commissioning new ‘high visibility’ automated signage at the Dodd’s Hill Junction and are adding road markings in order to make the junction safer, as a matter of priority at a cost of £3500 from Councillor Dark’s Local Member Fund.

Mr Dark also noted that The Safety Team at Norfolk County Council ‘will be making contact with the school after the Easter holiday regarding funding and support available to promote active cycling and walking to school’.

In a statement issued this morning, Stuart Dark, County Councillor for Dersingham Division said:

“As Dersingham’s elected Councillor I have been working diligently and sensibly with the County Council, school lead and Parish Council Chair to achieve these prompt positive outcomes over several days. Whilst enforced ‘change’, in this case very much deserved retirement, can create uncertainty and the need to review it also gives an opportunity to make better. I hope local residents, particularly those with children at the school,…agree with the steps taken on their behalf and are now reassured.”

In the same statement Keir Hughes, Safeguarding Link Governor, Dersingham Primary and Nursery School said on behalf of the Governing Body:

“On behalf of the school and it’s Governing Body I am pleased with the excellent and prompt response I have received from Mr Dark having raised our concerns with him over the Easter weekend…I am impressed and reassured to know that the physical road safety of our children and indeed other citizens, has been of such concern that the elevation of the matters has been met with such a constructive and expedited response. When the measures are put in place in both the short and longer terms the safety of children from the road risks at the locations in question should be very considerably reduced."

Coral Shepherd, Chair Of Dersingham Parish Council said:

“The Parish Council fought hard in 2016 to retain this service which is vital at this dangerous junction. I would like to thank County Councillor Stuart Dark for his hard work to keep our children safe. We appreciate his efforts over the last few months and are grateful for confirmation that the crossing patrol officer will be replaced and that additional signage will be installed. The crossing patrol officer is one of the most important people in Dersingham.”

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