School staff asked to take on lollipop duties

Max Dunnigan's leg was broken outside Stewart's Melville

Max Dunnigan's leg was broken outside Stewart's Melville

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TEACHERS and staff at Stewart’s Melville College are to be asked to take on the role of lollipop men following a hit-and-run outside the school.

The council has been trying to recruit road crossing assistants in the area for several years, but local residents have shown no interest in the positions.

Now, the local authority has suggested the school consults staff, including teachers, to see if they would be interested in any of the four roles currently available around Stewart’s Melville on a rota basis.

It comes just three weeks after 13-year-old pupil Max Dunnigan was hit by a car on his way to the school, leaving him with a broken leg. The driver of the vehicle failed to stop at the scene and has still not been traced by police.

Today, Max’s mum, Lorna Stirling, said she welcomed “anything that improves the safety of children” while underlining that the driver of the vehicle has still not been found.

The 38-year-old said: “Someone looked in their rear view mirror, saw a child lying on the road and drove off, not knowing if the child was dead or alive. No-one has come forward from the appeals and I find that quite galling. It could so easily have been a very different story – Max was very lucky.”

Max, a second year pupil at Stewart’s Melville College, is recovering at home in Dunfermline after surgery on a broken tibia and fibula. He will return to school – on crutches – after the Easter holidays.

If any members of staff at Stewart’s Melville are interested in the road crossing positions, they would have to apply for the council jobs.

One of the four road crossing assistants would be introduced on Queensferry Terrace, where Max was knocked down, with the remaining three in other areas around the school.

A meeting took place at the school to discuss possible road safety measures on Friday, which was attended by Stewart’s Melville staff, Lothian and Borders Police, the city council, two parents and SNP councillor for Inverleith, Stuart Roy McIvor.

In the long term, the city council is considering installing a second puffin crossing in the area.

General secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, Ann Ballinger, said any plans to have teachers taking on the role of road crossing assistant would have to be “very carefully considered”.

“There would have to be very clear guidelines about the role, and any crossover between the roles of teacher and crossing assistant,” she added.

Meanwhile, a council spokeswoman said: “We are actively looking to employ road crossing assistants to supplement existing on-street traffic management around Stewart’s Melville College.”

Anybody who is interested should contact Paul Murrell on 0131-529 3728, or e-mail paul.murrell@edinburgh.gov.uk.

Anyone with information on the accident is urged to get in touch with the police on 0131-311 3131.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

THE hourly rate for road crossing assistants is £6.96 per hour. The positions around Stewart’s Melville College are for around ten to 16 hours per week.

Successful applicants would go through an informal interview process and a medical, as well as the usual disclosure checks, before starting training.

Lollipop man John Hunter, who guided pupils from Corstorphine Primary School across the road and retired in 2009, was thrust into the public eye when he was banned from giving children “high fives” and sweets after one parent complained about her child’s nut allergy.

Among the other options being considered by the council to improve road safety outside Stewart’s Melville College is additional signage.