School patrols help to keep students safe on the road by controlling the flow of vehicles and pedestrians at pedestrian crossings and ‘kea’ crossings (school crossing points).
Operating before and after school, patrol members extend STOP signs onto the road in both directions, which signal approaching drivers to stop. Once the traffic is slowing or has stopped, the patrol signals to waiting pedestrians that it’s safe to cross the road.
Each duty patrol is typically made up of two students (with one designated the leader) and a supervising adult.
Before a school patrol can operate, all team members need to have been trained by a police school community officer, and supervisors inducted on the procedures.
A pedestrian crossing is made up of:
Kea crossings (or school crossing points) are used at places with low to moderate traffic levels, often where only school children cross. During non-patrol times, the roads revert to being uncontrolled, so pedestrians crossing them have to give way to vehicles.
A kea crossing is made up of:
A school patrol is the most commonly recognised way that schools manage road safety for students near the schools. However, it isn’t always the most appropriate solution, or even achievable. For example, rural schools in open-road speed zones may find that school patrols are not a realistic option.
Setting up a school patrol starts with the principal working with the road controlling authority and New Zealand Police to establish whether it’s appropriate and, if so, what form it will take.
If the road controlling authority approves a crossing, it will provide the board of trustees with an ‘authority to operate’ the patrol. Usually the principal is delegated to organise the patrol operation through a supervising teacher. This teacher then:
Choose 15 members for each patrol and/or group of school wardens, and use the same team all year to ensure that everyone has time to become confident and competent. This allows for two patrol members per day and five reserves.
The school community officer may request more than this number if a crossing requires more than two members to operate safely. This could be because of unique situations such as the proximity of intersections or the undulation of the roadway restricting visibility.
If people leave the patrol, contact your school community officer to arrange training for new recruits.
It’s important to have the right students on your school patrol team – they are role models for other students and responsible for ensuring the safety of others.
Be careful to choose students who:
Each patrol has a team leader. Your police school community officer many confirm leaders during training, choosing only the most capable students for the role.
The patrol supervisor is a responsible adult (usually a teacher or parent) who oversees the patrol and behaviour around it. Standing close to the patrol at all times, they:
When developing your rosters, try to give every patrol member a regular turn – and roster new patrol members with people who have some experience.
Give every patrol member a copy of their roster to take home, so that their parent(s) or caregiver can help to ensure they turn up on time. Supervisors should also have copies of these rosters.
You need to have a system for ensuring a replacement team member is available if a patrol member unexpectedly fails to turn up on time.
The best start and finish times for your school patrol will depend on when children arrive and leave. Ideally, you should aim to have your patrol on duty 30 minutes before school starts and at least five minutes before school finishes.
School patrols and traffic wardens must only use approved and authorised equipment. This will be supplied by your road controlling authority.
Patrols and wardens must not use any additional unauthorised equipment, such as smaller signs or flags to stop traffic.
School patrol equipment comprises:
The main school patrol signs are:
Large red discs with the words ‘STOP SCHOOL PATROL’ in white.
They are attached to long poles with hinge brackets attached.
Usually made of aluminium, the signs are bulky but not heavy and need to be handled with care, especially in windy conditions.
Kea crossing flags.
Lightweight, collapsible diamond-shaped flags.
Made of soft orange or red fluorescent material.
These signs are placed in posts near the kerb adjacent to the vehicle limit line so they’re visible to approaching drivers (see point B in the kea crossing specifications [PDF, 69 KB]).
A school may use cones within its own property, for example to block off a gate when patrols are operating.
However, a school may not place cones in the roadway other than as a part of a formal traffic management plan approved by the road controlling authority.
If your school is having problems with illegal or inappropriate parking, or if traffic density is making it difficult for patrols to operate effectively, the principal, board of trustees, school community officer and road controlling authority need to work together to find a solution to the underlying problem. See also ‘Coping with heavy traffic and visibility problems’.
Patrols and wardens must not use hand-held flags to stop either traffic or pedestrians.
It is also not recommended to give children crossing the road small flags to hold, as this may distract them from crossing safely.
There are two uniforms: a safety jacket for dry weather, and a waterproof safety jacket for wet weather and in low-visibility conditions. The jackets clearly identify the wearers as school traffic safety team members.
Patrol members must always wear the correct uniform while on duty.
Please ensure that patrol members and others treat all school patrol equipment with respect.
All equipment should be stored in a dedicated area that:
If any equipment is damaged, lost or stolen, contact your road controlling authority (for signs or flags) or school community officer (for uniforms) and they’ll arrange for repairs or replacements. If your STOP signs or kea crossing flags are unusable, follow the guidelines for school wardens until replacements arrive.