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Havering’s parents and headteachers demand safety review after child run over

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 November 2014

Parents and pupils at Hilldene Primary School standing by the busy road where a four-year-old boy was hit by a car

Parents and pupils at Hilldene Primary School standing by the busy road where a four-year-old boy was hit by a car

Archant

Parents, headteachers and councillors have increased calls for a review of road safety to protect children after a four-year-old boy was hit by a car outside his school.

"It’s only by the grace of God there’s not been anything worse"

Clare D’Netto, headteacher of St Ursula’s Catholic Junior School

An air ambulance landed on the field of Hilldene Primary after the reception pupil was knocked down crossing at a traffic island near the school in Straight Road, Harold Hill, on Tuesday.

Police believe his injuries are not as serious as first suspected, but parents want action to prevent a tragedy.

Mum-of-one Tasha Mercer, 25, started a petition calling for a zebra crossing to replace the island hours after the accident and had about 300 signatures by the following afternoon.

Miss Mercer, of Heaton Avenue, Harold Hill, said that the 30mph road is “chaos” and a danger to children.

The spot where the child was knocked down The spot where the child was knocked down

Heaton ward councillor Keith Darvill (Labour) said the road was particularly dangerous in the mornings, with high-speed traffic coming from Gallows Corner.

“I will be calling for an urgent review of traffic and parking on the road,” he said.

Clare D’Netto, headteacher of St Ursula’s Catholic Junior School, in Straight Road, called for increased lollipop patrols and for 30mph speed limits to be lowered near schools.

Her pupils are campaigning for a crash barrier to be extended after two cars careered into the school wall.

Kerry Ferguson collected signatures for a get well soon card for the boy Kerry Ferguson collected signatures for a get well soon card for the boy

Mrs D’Netto, who has supervised crossings in the absence of lollipop patrols, said: “It’s only by the grace of God there’s not been anything worse.”

Malcolm Drakes, headteacher at Broadford Primary School, in Faringdon Avenue, Harold Hill, said CCTV cars were needed to ensure that parking rules were followed.

But new measures had been introduced in April to combat inconsiderate behaviour by drivers outside schools in response to headteachers’ complaints, council leader Cllr Roger Ramsey said.

“We highlighted the most important areas and make sure we visit every three weeks as a minimum,” he said.

Sam Blewett at the school

“Slow down,” shouts one dad outside the school gates of Hilldene Primary School as a car travels past at 30mph.

Parents pushing prams struggle past rows of parked cars around entrances to the school so that they can pick up and drop off their

children.

Each parent I spoke to told me about numerous hazards such as the speed limit and the lack of safe places to cross, particularly if coming from the south to the reception and Year-1 entrance.

It is easy to say that parents could walk further up the road and turn back on themselves in order to cross at the traffic lights, but I can understand that under the strain of busy days and the need to get children home for dinner, it is all too tempting to cross at the more risky, but convenient, traffic island.

One mum pointed out that lollipop wardens don’t just keep children safe but teach them how to cross sensibly, while others said that drivers also need to be taught a lesson and better parking and speeding enforcement would do the trick.

“We’re doing absolutely everything we can with the resources we have.

“Our enforcement officers cover an extremely large area, but residents should be assured that tackling parking and driving issues at schools is one of our main priorities.”

Hilldene was identified as a priority, he continued, and was visited seven times in one month to issue penalties and advice.

He added: “Drivers have a responsibility to drive and park according to the conditions and restrictions of the environment.

“Residents also have to be alert and aware of their surroundings, and cross roads where it is safe to do so.”

A mother of a child at the school, who did not wish to be named, witnessed the “shocking” accident and called for an ambulance.

She said: “To watch a child knocked down and see them roll in the road was horrible. Everyone was screaming and in shock.

“He was so lucky not to have broken a bone.”

Jane Davenport, Headteacher of Hilldene Primary School, said she wished the boy a “speedy recovery”.

No arrests have been made and police enquiries continue.

The Recorder initially reported that the child was a three-year-old girl on the advice of London Ambulance Service. The service has apologised for the mistake.

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