PRIMARY schools across Castle Point are backing the Echo’s campaign to save our lollipop men and women.

Headteachers from several schools are urging parents and residents across the borough to join the campaign, insisting Essex County Council cannot make savings at the expense of children’s safety.

Many schools feel let down by the proposed cuts, which put the future of crossing patrols at 55 schools across Essex at risk, and they intend to fight against it.

Jacqui Gosnold, headteacher at William Read Primary School, in Long Road, Canvey, said her school’s lollipop man for six years, Tony Withers, had a crucial role ensuring pupils stayed safe when crossing the busy road.

She said: “I do feel strongly that we need our lollipop man.

Our main road outside school is very busy so our school crossing patrol is very important.”

The county council believes it can save about £5,680 per crossing patrol per year and schools should fund their own patrols.

But Tania Perry, headteacher at Kingston Primary School, in Church Road, Benfleet, insisted it would be difficult for schools to fund patrols.

She said: “I would urge everyone to sign the campaign. It’s important to keep children safe and we can’t do without our crossing patrol.

“We understand Essex County Council needs to make savings, but it cannot be done at the expense of crossing patrols and the safety of children.”

Nicki Kadwill, headteacher at Jotmans Hall Primary School, in Benfleet High Road, added: “We, as a school community, feel very let down by the council’s proposal to remove our lollipop man.

“We are on a really busy road and our parents, carers and pupils rely on him to keep them safe.”

The county council is set to discuss the proposals with schools over the summer.

Lollipop men and women in Southend and Thurrock will not be affected.

Essex county councillor for highways and transportation Rodney Bass said: “Due to the current economic climate and the pressure on local authority budgets we are reviewing the delivery of many aspects of public service delivery, particularly non-statutory services. In relation to any changes to the school crossing patrol, no formal decisions have been made.”