PARENTS and pupils at a Helensburgh primary school are rallying to keep lollipop crossing patrols in service.

As revealed in December, the facility is one of a number of services being considered for the axe by Argyll and Bute Council in order for savings to be made.

But Hermitage Primary School’s parent council has collected hundreds of signatures via paper and online petitions protesting at the idea.

The council’s policy and resources committee next meets on Thursday, February 14, with papers expected to be available online from Friday, February 8. A full council meeting will then take place on Thursday, February 21 to set the authority’s budget for 2019-20..

Rhona Black, chair of the Hermitage parent council, said: “Many of our parents raised significant concerns at the prospect of the school crossing patrol no longer operating, and the matter was discussed at our last parent council meeting.

“A subsequent meeting was held on Monday, January 21, specifically to discuss the lollipop patrol.

“Chaired by the parent council, parents and carers discussed how Hermitage Primary Parent Council (HPPC) could represent the views of our parent forum [all parents and carers with children at Hermitage Primary School] to Argyll and Bute Council.

“We also asked for a contribution from the pupil council, who had canvassed views around the school prior to the meeting.

“They were represented by two pupil reps, Mya Dickinson and Connor Hicks, who both talked about the impact of the school crossing patrols on the school and why it was important to keep them.”

Parents have been urged to contact their local Argyll and Bute councillors and members of Helensburgh Community Council to voice their concerns.

A handout has also been distributed, and shared with other parent councils at schools all over Argyll and Bute, and is available to view on the parent council’s website.

A petition has also opened online, and is available to be signed on paper until Friday, February 1, at school opening and closing time.

Rhona added: “We received more than 180 responses in the first 24 hours that our online survey was open, and 60 signatures on our paper petition.

“The overwhelming feedback so far has been that the crossing guard service is essential to ensure the safety of pupils walking to and from school, and that parents and carers want this service to continue.

“Whilst we acknowledge restrictions on Argyll and Bute Council’s budget, and that there are competing priorities, Hermitage Primary Parent Council will continue to present the views of our parents and pupils to Argyll and Bute Council as they deliberate.

“We have requested meetings with local councillors and with the council officers who carry responsibility for briefing and advising the councillors.

“Our hope is that they will listen to the views of such a significant component of the community in Helensburgh and the essential need to keep our children’s school routes safe will cause the council to make an informed and careful decision.”