The shortest of bus rides, all because a council won’t create a zebra crossing

Children at a flagship free school have to get on a bus for just 35 seconds to get their lunch after council bosses refused to create a zebra crossing.

Minibuses ferry the 678 pupils across a busy road because lights on a 25-yard pelican crossing outside the school do not stay on red long enough to walk the children over the road to a former pub, which has been converted to a canteen.

Staff at Langley Hall Primary Academy in Slough were horrified to discover that the lights at the crossing only stay red for nine seconds, making it impossible to walk pupils over safely.

Now the children climb aboard the school minibus for a 35-second ride to take them to lunch. On the way back the journey time takes up to a minute and a half.

Headteacher Sally Eaton said: “It is only possible to get 11 children across the road at any one time so it wasn’t really an option. The council told us that it was not possible for them to alter the traffic lights so that they stayed red for longer during the lunch period.The engineers said that if they altered the timings then it would have to be permanent as they were unable to alter timings for a ­specific period only.”

Dr Patricia Sutlieff, chairwoman of the trustees and governors, said the council has told them to walk pupils across two roads and through a park instead but she said this would take too long and that crossing two roads made no sense from a safety point of view. She added: “We originally asked for a zebra crossing directly outside the school but they said no to that. They also refused us a lollipop person for the road outside the school, but did offer one for the longer route. At present we have the ridiculous situation of taking the children across for their lunches in the school minibuses where we are able to put 26 in both buses.” She stressed that it was the safest solution.

Does anyone else think this is ridiculous? The traffic lights are clearly not adequate for allowing the children to cross the road, so all the council needs to do is put either a zebra crossing or a lollipop person outside the school to allow them to cross the road safely. Isn’t this common sense or am I missing something here? I’m kinda disappointed that a council would refuse this to make a school pay the petrol money to operate the minibuses just when all it takes is a zebra crossing. Council bosses need to pull their fingers out and use their brains.

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