WEALTHY parents at one of Scotland’s leading private schools have been asked to volunteer – as a lollipop man or woman.
George Heriot’s, thought to have inspired the fictional Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series, is on one of Edinburgh’s busiest city centre roads.
And there is concern for the safety of children at the £11,000-a-year school because there has been no crossing patrol outside for several months.
The local council admitted that its most recent attempt to hire someone for the role ended in failure.
So the 388-year-old school, whose former pupils include actor Kenn Stott and the late former Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie, has agreed to an unusual council request.
The doctors, lawyers, business people and other well-heeled professionals who send their offspring to the school have been asked to don a reflective jacket, hat and “lollipop” for the equivalent of around £13,500-a-year.
In an email sent out to parents today (Fri), Lesley Franklin, Head of Junior School, said: “As you know, we have been without a School Crossing Patrol Officer for several months now.
“I spoke with Mr Paul Morrell at Edinburgh City Council again today and he explained that they advertised the post very recently and received no applications.
“Therefore, he asked that I email our parent body in case anyone knows of someone who might like to apply for the job.”
After including Mr Morrell’s contact details, Ms Franklin added: “He would be very keen to hear from anyone who would like to apply for this position.”
The school is on Lauriston Place, which is one of the most congested in the city, particularly around the start and end of the school day.
Last year there were 176 traffic accidents involving pedestrians in Edinburgh, 38 of which were judged serious and one fatal.
One concerned parent said: “My daughter’s a teenager now but has been at the school since she was four.
“There’s no doubt at all that the road needs a lollipop person, especially for the younger kids. It’s really busy, especially in the mornings and evenings when the kids are going to and from school.
“It’s an amazing location so it’s gobsmacking that nobody has come forward. The school desperately need someone to help at rush hour so that less parents feel the need to be there at the gates with the kids which causes the congestion to get even worse.”
George Heriot’s School, founded in 1628, is regarded as one of the historic landmarks within Edinburgh and the building is seen as an outstanding Scots Renaissance architecture.
The school has educated a host of successful people who have gone on to success in science, entertainment and the arts.
John MacSween, the entrepreneur who helped popularise Haggis as an international dish with his MacSween Haggis business was taught at the school.
James Mackay was appointed Lord Chancellor by Margaret Thatcher in the late 1980s Conservative government.
The school also has an excellent sporting pedigree and produced former President of the Scottish Rugby Union, Andrew Irvine MBE, who won 51 caps whilst playing for his country.
Alastair Sim CBE attended the school before going on to find fame as an actor, appearing in over 50 British films and ranking inside the top 100 British actors of all time.
George Heriot’s declined to provide any further comment on the matter.