Have you got what it takes to be a lollipop man or lady in West Sussex?

Michelle Padwick, a school crossing patrol officer based in Littlehampton
Michelle Padwick, a school crossing patrol officer based in Littlehampton

A campaign to recruit school crossing patrol officers across West Sussex has been launched this week.

There are 26 vacancies for schools in Burgess Hill, Camelsdale, Crawley, East Grinstead, East Preston, Hassocks, Horsham, Lancing, Lindfield, Selsey, Shoreham, Southwick, West Hoathly and Worthing.

The patrols are a key part of the community and help see children and families safely across our roads at the beginning and end of the school day.

Stuart Collins, West Sussex County Council’s transport provision manager, said: “School crossing patrols are deservedly much admired and respected in our towns and villages, providing a really valuable service.

“We have a total of 125 school crossing patrol sites across the county and have today started a recruitment campaign to fill vacancies in 25 of these.

“These are salaried roles. The exact duty times vary from site to site, but the commitment is usually 30-40 minutes each morning and afternoon when children are walking to and from school.”

The rate of pay is £9.18 per hour, term time only, with the salary spread equally over 12 months.

Patrols have to be aged over 18 and have a successful enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. Uniform and training are provided.

There are currently vacancies for patrols at the following school sites:

Burgess Hill, Southway Junior; Camelsdale, Camelsdale Primary; Crawley, Desmond Anderson Primary Academy, Gossops Green Primary (two vacancies), Maidenbower Junior, Milton Mount Primary, Pound Hill Junior, Southgate Primary, West Green Primary, Three Bridges Primary; East Grinstead, Estcots Primary; East Preston, East Preston Infant; Hassocks, Hassocks Infant; Horsham, Arunside Primary, Heron Way Primary, Leechpool Primary; Lancing, The Globe Primary; Lindfield, Lindfield Primary Academy; Selsey, Medmerry School; Shoreham, Swiss Gardens Primary; Southwick, Eastbrook Primary; West Hoathly, West Hoathly CofE Primary; Worthing: Downsbrook Primary, Thomas A Becket Junior School (afternoons only), Whytemead Primary.

To apply visit the county council’s website.

The closing date is Sunday May 19.

Ever wondered what it’s like being a school crossing patrol officer?

Here, Michelle Padwick, who sees children and families safely across the road at a site in Littlehampton, sheds some light with answers to questions prospective officers might ask.

How long have you been a school crossing patrol officer?

I became a school crossing patrol at River Beach Primary School in October 2013, so it will be six years later this year. It’s been great as I’ve been made to feel part of the team at the school and got to know the parents and children.

What attracted you to the role?

I was looking for a part-time role and saw an advertisement from West Sussex County Council asking for school crossing patrols. I applied for the position because I thought it would be a rewarding job, being able to help children safely cross the road. I still remember the lollipop lady from when I was a child so this encouraged me even more to apply for this position. I also liked that the position was term-time only.

What aspects do you enjoy the most?

One aspect I enjoy the most is the social side of the role. All the parents and children have been friendly and always thankful for the job I do. It’s gratifying knowing that I’m making a difference by helping the children get to and from school safely each day by carrying out the patrol.

Are there any not-so-good aspects?

I think the only downside is the weather but I have a great uniform which keeps me dry and warm. I always add extra layers underneath my jacket if required during the colder periods of the year, so I’m always well prepared.

Do you find some people have misconceptions about the role?

I believe one of the biggest misconceptions is a lot of people think it’s voluntary. I’ve been asked quite a few times in the past about becoming a school crossing patrol and people have been surprised when I’ve informed them that it’s paid employment.

Have you experienced any anti-social behaviour by motorists or others?

Yes, when I first started I experienced some anti-social behaviour by motorists, especially with regards to parking in unsafe areas around the school. There are zig zag lines by the school entrances now and in 2017 I was provided with a body camera which I wear throughout each shift.

The camera has made a big difference and works as a great deterrent against inconsiderate drivers. I also feel my presence encourages parents to walk their children to school.

What’s the one thing you would say to anyone thinking of becoming a school crossing patrol officer?

If you’re thinking of becoming a school crossing patrol then please apply! I’m really pleased that I’ve been given the opportunity to be part of such a great team.