A STREET pastor wants to be on hand outside schools to help children tackle problems such as bullying.

Phil Norton, 50, the coordinator of street pastors in Billericay, wants to be on hand outside school gates across the town to help youngsters deal with certain issues.

He pointed to a similar scheme in Kent, where street pastors have been used outside schools.

Traditionally, street pastors are on hand in high streets to help late night revellers who may have had too much to drink.

Mr Norton, who is a former policeman, said: “It’s all about helping people wherever and however we can. If we can help schoolchildren with whatever issues they have, then that’s great.

“The town council and police have given us their support and think it’s a good idea. Initially we will be patrolling the streets during school time, but we will be looking at going into the schools for lunch times and sessions to show the children what we do.”

The project will require 12 more volunteers who will undergo an intensive training programme and need criminal background checks.

Ken Burkett, vicepresident of Bexleyheath Academy, where school street pastors have been used, said they have been “vital” in protecting children.