A number of our schools are on, or near, busy and dangerous roads. Many are struggling to recruit school crossing staff to help the pupils and parents cross safely to get to and from school. I have seen too many examples of our youngsters having to run across the road to get to their place of learning.
I have taken this campaign to Parliament, and asked the Prime Minister, in PMQs, to dedicate a centralised funding pot to help schools to deliver technology to allow for safe crossings. With my Transport Select Committee opening an inquiry into Road Safety, I have been able to persuade my fellow members to include a section on School Road Safety. It seems to be the case that modest changes to improve safety are being stifled by a belief, from the Department for Transport, that changes are not ‘safe’ enough.
The default position must not be that nothing can be done. We need to be more imaginative and prioritise school safety improvements out of the funds which developers have to pay local authorities when they build the new homes which provide further pupils to our schools.
In order to highlight our local challenges via the Committee inquiry, I invited some local head teachers, our local highways team, County and District Councillors and Sussex Police to a round-table meeting in my Bexhill office. I am so pleased that we were able to discuss the challenges and now feel even more determined to use Parliament to get something done about this. My thanks to all of those who gave up their time and who fight so hard for the interests of their local schools and pupils.