New intake of ‘lollipop’ wardens will help ensure children’s safety

New intake of ‘lollipop’ wardens will help ensure children’s safety

By Mary Dennehy

OVER the past year, schools and parents have raised concerns over the absence of a school warden at various crossings across the county.

However, this week, The Echo has learned that South Dublin County Council is working to fill any gaps in service and has opened a recruitment drive for school wardens – with 14 new ‘lollipop’ women and men recently taking up posts.

School warden 03 November 2016 blur

A number of school communities were left frustrated in recent times when a school warden was no longer a fixture in their area, with a number of parents also claiming that no prior notification was given by the council that the crossing would not be manned on a particular day.

Laura Leonard, of the council’s roads department, this week told The Echo: “We did struggle to keep up with the vacancies that occurred over the past two years. . . vacancies that arose from retirements, sickness and holiday leave. 

“However, we hope that the recent intake of 14 new wardens will mean we are in a much better place. We are also seeking expressions of interest from anybody else who would like to be a school warden.

“We hope that the new recruits will fill any gaps in service and we would also like to create a relief panel of school wardens, who could provide cover – meaning that no school has to go without.”

A working day for a school warden starts at 8.30am, with the busiest morning time being 8.45am when a steady stream of kids arrive to cross.

Ms Leonard told The Echo: “The challenges for wardens include cars stopping on the crossing despite the presence of the yellow box, kids excited to see friends and rushing along and parents under various levels of stress, many under pressure to get to work. 

“By 9.00am most schools have started and the majority of kids are safely in school.

“Wardens may have two further afternoon shifts as school ends at 1.30pm for junior and senior infants.

“Generally the remainder of children leave school at 2.30pm and wardens on the afternoon shifts deal with a surge of children with high energy levels . . . with wardens needing to be very vocal to get their attention, ensuring they wait for a warden’s command.”

Alongside inviting expressions of interest for the post of schoolwarden, the council is also adding six new crossings at schools across the county. 

Ms Leonard said: “The road safety section [of the council] is duly proud of their school wardens and the effort they put in on a daily basis to ensure the safety of children.

“As well as our school warden service, the road safety section has carried out a number of schemes to improve the safety around schools with ramps, additional road markings, bollards being installed at numerous locations.

“We have also carried out two large safety schemes on the N81.”

She also stressed the need for people to prioritise road safety among their family and friends and a combined effort is needed to make our roads safer.

Expressions of interest for the post of School Warden are invited from people of all ages, with successful candidates given full training.

Those interested are encouraged to email with their name and contact details.

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