Parents voice A68 school crossing fears

Lollipop woman on the A68 at Jedburgh.
Lollipop woman on the A68 at Jedburgh.

Parents of pupils at a Jedburgh school expressed concerns this week after it emerged that a vital road crossing could be unpatrolled.

Almost 200 parents have taken to a Facebook page to protest at the council’s lack of clarity on the issue, which has arisen with the impending retirement of the current crossing patrol lady.

Parents of Parkside Primary School pupils were sent a letter from deputy headteacher Alison Monteith on Monday which stated: “We have been informed that our A68 school crossing patrol lady, Irene, is retiring at the end of this week.

“The council have said that ‘if we have adequate squad cover then we will send them but can’t guarantee this’ and have advised that we should let you know that the crossing may be unmanned for a while.”

This prompted parent Jane Somers to set up a Facebook page and lobby local councillors and MSP to try to get some clarification on the situation.

Mrs Somers told The Southern: “We are just trying to get something from SBC to say ‘yes, we will definitely have someone there’, or if not, then parents can make other arrangements.

“But, leaving it so vague is a lack of judgement on their part.” She added: “It just seems like a lackadaisical response to our children’s safety, and that is what worries me most.”

Local councillor Rory Stewart and MSP John Lamont gave Mrs Somers their backing.

On Wednesday an SBC spokesman confirmed: “The current school crossing patrol attendant is being replaced following her retirement and the recruitment process is already underway.

“Temporary cover has been arranged while this process is taking place - and this will start from the beginning of the new term on October 21.

“We do not plan to have the crossing un-manned at any point however if there is any instance where there is a gap in temporary cover we would liaise with the school to inform parents in advance of this happening.”

Mrs Somers criticised SBC for the delays in attempting to get a replacement, and in clarifying the situation, adding that the Facebook group - ‘RoadsafeJedburgh’ - will remain open for the time being due to other issues identified by members.