Road Safety News

Churchill launches campaign to provide 50 new SCPs

Wednesday 27th April 2016

Churchill Insurance has launched a campaign in which it pledges to train and fund 50 new school crossing patrols (SCPs) across the UK.

The campaign, which has the support of Brake and PTA UK, will give the public the opportunity to nominate a primary school they feel is in need of a SCP.

Once the 50 schools are selected, Churchill will work with local councils and SCP officers to train and fund the new recruits ahead of the 2016/17 school year.

Churchill says an increasing number of ‘iconic’ lollipop men and women are disappearing, despite research from Road Safety Analysis which shows that  55% of child pedestrian casualties occur during the school run. The insurer hopes its campaign will help raise awareness of the key role they play, despite diminishing numbers.

Lucy Brooksbank, head of marketing at Churchill, said: “Lollipoppers are the stalwarts of our communities, national treasures who bring fun and joy to the school run, as well as importantly keeping children safe.

“With child pedestrian casualties during the school run still an issue in the UK, we want to put 50 Lollipoppers on school crossings. We want people from across the UK, whether they are a parent or just concerned about a local crossing, to nominate their schools and help to keep children safe during the school run.”

The actor Robert Webb, who helped launch the campaign, said: “Being a dad I'm always concerned for my children's safety, especially during the school run when they can be easily distracted. I'm delighted to help Churchill to get Lollipoppers on the streets of Britain.”

Richard Hall, Road Safety GB’s spokesperson on the SCP service, said: “Road Safety GB fully supports the SCP service and the important role patrols play in the local community in providing a safer crossing for children and other pedestrians.

“The difficult financial position that local authorities are facing is having an impact on services and any scheme that helps put more patrols on the street is welcomed.”

Emma Williams, executive director of PTA UK, added: “Clearly the wellbeing of our children is the priority for everyone and we are delighted to support Churchill’s campaign. Not only will this put more lollipop men and women on our streets, it will also enable parents, PTAs and schools to work together to make the school run safer.”

The deadline to nominate a primary school is Monday 16 May.


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Has anyone funded an SCP through a school PTA or 'Friends' Group? Having just lost our SCP from the Council I am trying to come up with another source.

It's more from a managing point of view is what I am after information on. The funding for the first year is covered. My understanding is our SCP needs to be self employed and managed through an organisation or a school PTA/friends group.
Yvonne Soulby Newbury

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)


Your question is based on two assumptions. The first is that you are correct. The second is that the experiential learning to which children are exposed reflects exclusively the first assumption. As to the first I think your presumption of an assumed road hierarchy in which the car is dominant and, by inference, all other modes subservient, has some merit. A few years ago I would have pointed you to transport policy hierarchies that turned those assumptions on their head but would still have agreed that the reality is somewhat different. Now, I’d be hard pushed even to assert that the transport planning hierarchies did anything but reflect your assertion. So fair enough – not universally true of course, there will be localised experience to the contrary – but your point is taken.

As to the second – no. It’s because I concur to a large extent with your first point that I support the need for experiential learning - but it’s presumptive to suggest that the only experience a child will have is the one you are focussing on. Most obviously the type of experience I’m suggesting is necessary is about learning to cope with these realities, developing (with ever reducing levels of support and supervision) their ability to manage situations as they find them.

I’d also hope that, in appreciating just how onerous these coping strategies are for some road users, they’ll develop the empathy required to be a more considerate motorist when their time comes.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

There is a huge difference between teaching children how to keep safe in the real world opposed to telling how great it would be if vehicles automatically stopped to allow them to cross, or that all roads are engineered to protect pedestrians and cyclist (although that would be nice). Unfortunately, we have all been brought up with the legacy of cars being the "Kings of the Road" and I can't honestly see that changing to any great degree in the near future. So unfortunately there is still a great need for SCPs at certain locations.
Iain, Scotland

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

Jeremy, what effect do you think that the traditional experiential learning gained at primary school age - learning which reinforces the message that motorists are "king of the road" and that roads are for cars and not pedestrians - will have on those children in adult life? Do you think they will forget it all, or do you think that with it being so deeply ingrained, that they will try to live up to it as they graduate to being motorists and will themselves then also treat pedestrians with contempt?
Charles, England

Agree (1) | Disagree (5)

During a recent service review one of the things that was striking – and a little awkward – was the lack of reliable evidence surrounding the effects of Patrol removal. One of the reasons for this is likely to be that, until recently, it has been rare to see the removal of Patrols in sufficient numbers to represent a comparison for sites with patrols.

Funding crises and changes in either priority or methodology (patrols represent one legitimate intervention amongst many) mean that this has changed and the opportunity now exists for some robust comparison studies to be made.

The relationship between crossing patrols and healthy travel is an interesting one – see Dr Adrian Davis’ review for example: Patrols appear to influence safer travel behaviours but not necessary modal choice. However, Dr Davis’s review doesn’t cover the effects of removal – are less safe choices made under those circumstances? Are even fewer journeys made on foot or by bicycle? These are questions we can start to address if we look at the effects of change on our Patrol services and I’d encourage every local highway authority with diminishing numbers of Patrols to look carefully at the effects of this.

If anyone wants to discuss a suitable methodology then drop me a line at It’s a shame that the removal of travel data from the school census will inevitably make assessments of change harder, but it should still be possible to make some clear judgements.

Final thought for Charles – casualty and severity reduction is a public health issue and our contribution to that need not be restricted to the obvious. Facilitating walking and cycling (through Patrols etc) and promoting active modes (remember that many road safety teams are fully merged with sustainable and active travel) is an entirely legitimate road safety activity. This is not least because the experiential learning gained at primary school age will help in the transition to more independent travel at early secondary school age where some of our biggest challenges still exist for protecting young road users.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

Whatever one's perception and opinion of street design, pedestrians still require to move around and as far as the conventional arrangement of footways and carriageway is concerned, pedestrians do need to cross the c/way from footway to footway and if assistance can be provided (for those who need it) via SCPs, I don't see that as a failing of highway design - more a practical and cost effective solution to the needs of vulnerable pedestrians using the highway. I would have thought SCPs to be one of the least controversial aids to road safety.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (12) | Disagree (1)

Hugh, no PV2 doesn't address either of my points.

All PV2 does is confirm what we have seen elsewhere; that inappropriate street design is the root cause of what many choose to interpret as bad, inconsiderate, antisocial and even dangerous driving. Get the streets right and everything else will look after itself, sustainably. There will be no call for SCPs, pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes, speed humps, speed limits, ...
Charles, England

Agree (4) | Disagree (21)

Road Safety GB is responsible for the maintenance of the National Guidelines for the operation and of SCP sites. The guidelines are based on engineering principles regarding road crossings and include details of how to assess a site to decide whether a patrol is needed, or a zebra or signal controlled crossing – depending on the numbers of vehicles, the types of vehicles, speed and so on. This includes the PV2 formula but that is not the whole story. They also include practical experience, legal precedents and case law and take account of the statutory and non-statutory duties of local highways authorities with regard to children’s journeys to and from school.

The guidelines are regularly reviewed by a panel of very experienced professionals who are involved in the management and provision of the SCP service in various parts of the country – in metropolitan, urban and rural environments.

This clear methodology provides an objective assessment for every potential and existing SCP site. Many, if not most, authorities have adopted the guidelines as part of their policy and use them in their daily management of the service.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (14) | Disagree (1)

What has not been mentioned in the story and which addresses Charles' query is the standard formula used by Councils for determining the degree of pedestrian/traffic conflict and the need for a crossing in the first place i.e. PV2 (I think possibly since amended to take into account other factors). Would this overide the 'public's choice' anyway?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (5)

Hugh, I can see why the deployment of SCPs may be considered, on the face of it, as a 'no brainer' by some. However, we need to look at why we might think they are needed, and especially bearing in mind what you said, that they are not needed near every school. We also need to consider what message they give to the children they are notionally there to 'help', and how that message might come back to bite us later...

So firstly then, what is different at the schools where SCPs are not needed, and why can't that be emulated at schools where they are "needed"? Could it be that roads that look like race tracks, with their harsh concrete kerb demarcation, pristine white lines to guide drivers, good sight lines, clear verges and kept clear of parked cars and other clutter (including pedestrians) are used like race tracks? Aren't these the precisely the same road types where, despite the prevailing speed limit, motorists go too fast and have no consideration for pedestrians or other road users?

Secondly, if we then also think about a common mindset in the GB public, that motorists are the "king of the road" and that pedestrians always need to kowtow to them if they are to survive crossing from one side of a road to the other, and consider whether that is the attitude that we want to maintain and reinforce. We might consider whether this attitude is self perpetuating - we brainwash children from an early age into believing that you need special powers (such as SCPs) to be able to cross a road in one piece, and that without those powers motorists must be given absolute priority - those children will then carry that message into adulthood as the next generation of motorists and take on the motorist role themselves, with with assumed priority over pedestrians that has been so indelibly imprinted into their psyche.
Charles, England

Agree (10) | Disagree (8)

Wendy you are quite correct, we also spotted this. One of our Directors, Richard Hall, has brought this and other practicalities to Churchill's attention and is now working with them on how to help their scheme work in practice and in line with the national guidelines and legal requirements.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

It is interesting that the terms and conditions of this competition state the agreement is between Churchill and the winning schools, and that the school will manage the operation of the patrol. I understood that patrols had to be operated by “appropriate authorities” as outlined in the Road Safety GB guidance, which I've copied below - has that changed?

"School Crossing Patrols (referred to in this document as SCPs) were established by the School Crossing SCP Act 1953 and instituted on 1 July 1954 through the School Crossing SCP Order 1954.

"The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (Sections 26 – 28) gave ‘Appropriate Authorities’ (defined as county councils, metropolitan district councils, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Common Council of the City of London) the power to appoint SCPs to help children cross the road on their way to or from school, or from one part of a school to another, between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:30 pm."
Wendy, Dudley

Agree (25) | Disagree (0)

Bit surprised that it is thought SCPs' roles need justification. Their role is to stop traffic and allow children to cross safely in a controlled fashion - need anymore be said? I'm sure they're not needed near every school, but where there's a busy road - yes, fairly obviously.

Private sponsorship by local companies of things like this seems a good idea if there's no public money available and could be extended to other areas of road safety, instead of adverts on roundabouts. Motor manufacturers could sponsor the odd road safety ad for national TV perhaps.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (19) | Disagree (4)

Honor, as the stated objective of RSGB is "to reduce the number and severity of road collisions" and not necessarily to improve people's health in other ways (though if it is a natural byproduct then fair enough), then don't you think that if there is evidence that SCPs help people to cross those busy roads more safely then we should be shown it? If there isn't any such evidence, then I don't think we should be involved and we certainly shouldn't use unsupported road safety speculation as part of the justification for such measures. To remain credible, we need to concentrate solely on evidence-based measures and not support purely political or otherwise inspired measures.
Charles, England

Agree (13) | Disagree (14)

Finding funding for patrols is increasingly difficult in many areas. Where we do have funding available, finding people willing to undertake this much valued role for their community is also difficult. Lots of parents want someone else to do this job – yet our patrols find it very rewarding and enjoyable.

We welcome Churchill’s contribution to raising the profile of School Crossing Patrols and the work that they do every day so that parents can rely on them being there to help their children cross busy roads to get to school.

The value of patrols is not just about reducing casualties – although their presence undoubtedly helps people to cross those busy roads more safely - but also in enabling children and parents to make the choice to walk to school. This is important to improve health (both children’s and parents!) and to develop the habit of walking to school, which has been shown to improve children’s ability to learn in class as well its value as a physical activity.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

Agree (18) | Disagree (2)

It might well be true that "55% of child pedestrian casualties occur during the school run", but how is that appalling statistic distributed between SCP'd and non-SCP'd sites? Surely to help justify any support for SCPs, what we need to see is rigorous evidence that such measures make any difference to casualty numbers. Have there been casualty increases where SCPs have been abolished? Have there been casualty reductions where new SCPs have been introduced?
Charles, England

Agree (13) | Disagree (5)