A HEADTEACHER has slammed parents for “appalling” parking close to a school saying they are putting children at risk.

Cheryl Woolf, headteacher at West Leigh Junior School, in Ronald Hill Grove, wrote a strongly worded letter to parents raising concerns that poor parking and driving close to the school gates will “cause an accident” involving young children trying to cross the road.

Itis already part of a school street scheme which shuts off traffic in a section of Ronald Hill Grove at pick up and drop off times.

However, Ms Woolf was horrified to witness parents trying “to get as close as possible” to the school gate by parking on double yellow lines on the corner of Westleigh Avenue.

She fears that cars “reversing away from the kerb” could put children at risk.

Ms Woolf said: “The parking around the surrounding streets of the West Leigh schools has been an ongoing issue, it is one of the reasons why West Leigh Infants approached Southend Council to introduce school street.

“Since this was put in place the section of Ronald Hill Grove directly outside the school is shut off to through traffic during school drop off and pick up times allowing children from Reception all the way through to Year 6 to walk safely into school.

“The knock-on effect of school street has created traffic jams on Marine Avenue and West Leigh Avenue.

“The children’s safety will always be our number one priority and we are simply asking the parents to drive responsibly and where possible to park further away from the school and walk.”

Ronald Hill Grove became a permanent school street in February 2023 after a successful trial.

Now, Ms Woolf is urging parents to take extra care and think about their actions after a “large number” of email complaints every month.

She added: “We know people are not giving way to each other, are parking on double yellow lines, using the car park of the flats opposite, parking on other people’s drives and parking on the pavement on London Road.

“Both schools receive a large number of email complaints every month regarding parking and driving around school drop off and pick up times.

“We are hoping that we will see a change and that we can continue to keep our children safe.”