CONCERNS have been raised over the recruitment of school lollipop men and women after a child was hit by a car close to a school in Clacton.

Emergency services were called to Leas Road, close to Alton Park Junior School, shortly before 8.30am last Wednesday,

Fortunately the pupil only required treatment at Clacton’s minor injuries unit.

The incident came just one day after Essex County Council’s School Crossing Patrol Service told the school the road would not be manned “possibly for the foreseeable future”.

It was told that while Essex Highways take the responsibility of providing the service very seriously, it is not a statutory requirement.

It added that while there was no plan to reduce current staffing levels, the service was experiencing long-term vacancies in sites that are hard to recruit to.

The school advised parents to warn children to take extra care when crossing the road outside the school.

A spokesperson for Essex County Council, said: “We are sorry to hear about the incident.

“A decision had to be made to move the relief patrol, who had been covering this site due to a vacancy for a permanent patrol, to another site at the start of last week.

“Alton Park Junior were notified of the change and they took steps to notify parents.

“Unfortunately, these decisions do have to be made at times when other sites need to be covered due to illness.

“We are pleased to be able to report that a candidate has now been selected and the recruitment process is underway to fill the position at Alton Park Junior.

“We hope to have the person in post for the new term in September.

“In the meantime, the position is being covered by the caretaker volunteer who has been provided with a uniform and training by the School Crossing Patrol team.”

The school said: “We are pleased to announce that Mr Harvey will be manning the school crossing until the end of this term and a new patrol person has been employed by Essex County Council to start when pupils return in September.”

Terry Allen, leader of Tendring Council’s opposition groups, said the county council has a “moral responsibility” to provide crossing patrols even if they do not have a statutory responsibility.

He said: “It is fortunate that a child was not killed on this occasion but this incident shows why we desperately need school crossing patrols.

“County Hall must do whatever it can to step-up recruitment of crossing patrollers, especially for schools next to busy roads such as Alton Park Junior School.”