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Safe travel

Volunteer School Crossing Marshal

Volunteer School Crossing Marshal Guidelines

  • What is a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal?
    • A Volunteer School Crossing Marshal is a voluntary helper recruited, ‘employed’ and managed by the School.
    • Marshals can be used when the School community identify that some children would benefit from extra help to cross the road.
    • They are trained by the Council’s School Crossing Patrol Supervisors or Trainer.
    • The training is very ‘hands on’ and at the crossing location at school travel time. For one person it normally takes the morning and afternoon session.
    • A Marshal could operate, for example, at a location that does not meet the criteria for a School Crossing Patrol or where there is a Patrol, but they are absent.
    • A Marshal cannot stop traffic. Only trained School Crossing Patrols, with the correct uniform and STOP sign, (as well as the Police and some highway officers) are legally allowed to stop traffic.
  • Benefits of having a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal at your school
    • To help children cross the road at locations that do not meet the criteria for a School Crossing Patrol
    • Back-up cover in the event of  periods of absence by a Patrol.
    • Responsive to periods of irregular demand. Marshals may be used for school events or other occasions when a Patrol would not be suitable or available.
    • Flexibility. A Marshal does not have to work every start and finish time as this is arranged between the school and the Marshal.
    • The Marshal is not restricted to assisting children at just one location.
    • There is no assessment criteria to be met as there is with deploying a School Crossing Patrol.
    • The flexibility and less formal nature of the role may appeal to people who do not wish to be a School Crossing Patrol.
  • Volunteer School Crossing Marshal’s responsibilities
    • Use the Green Cross Code as per Rule 7 in the Highway Code as the basis of how to help cross people safely.
    • To follow these ‘Volunteer School Crossing Marshal Guidelines’
    • Inform the School if they are not able to work.
    • Dynamically risk assess the crossing point before each ‘shift’. See the Dynamic Risk Assessment section further down this page.
    • Be able to identify and use a temporary crossing point if the usual crossing point cannot be used, for example, due to roadworks. The Marshal must then inform the school who can inform children and parents/carers. The School can email the Road Safety Helpdesk for guidance if necessary.
  • Crossing procedure
    • Stand on the pavement, the side where people will arrive (usually opposite the School entrance in the morning and the same side as the School in the afternoon).
    • The Volunteer School Crossing Marshal should invite, and not insist, that people cross with them. Some children and parents will want to cross by themselves, which is acceptable.
    • The number of children within the groups will depend on the number of vehicles, the speed of the traffic and the road width. The Marshal should assess the conditions and determine the number of children to help cross at any one time based on these factors
    • The group should wait until the Marshal says they are ready to cross
    • Look all around for traffic, including behind if near a junction. Include the children in the “looking for traffic”.
    • A Marshal is not a School Crossing Patrol and as such must not attempt to stop the traffic – but drivers may stop as they see people waiting to cross. Where this happens, the Marshal must check again that the road is clear in all directions and that other drivers, cyclists or motorcyclists don’t intend to overtake the vehicle which may have stopped.
    • When there is a safe and suitable gap in the traffic, instruct the group to cross quickly, but without running, and walk across the road with the group.
    • Ensure the whole group is in view and watch them reach the kerb.
    • The position of the Marshal when crossing will depend on many factors, such as width of road and number of people crossing. Normally the Marshal will be in the middle of the group.
    • When the group have all reached the footway, cross back to the starting point again using the Green Cross Code. A Marshal must always set an excellent example.
    • If more people have already gathered, the Marshal should politely ask them to wait until you return to their side of the pavement before starting the process again.
    • Volunteer School Crossing Marshals must be polite and courteous as they are representing the School and the wider School community.
  • Dynamic Risk Assessment
    • Dynamic risk assessment is the practice of mentally observing, assessing and analysing an environment while we work, to identify, remove or manage risk. The process allows individuals to identify a hazard on the spot and make quick decisions regarding safety.
    • Identify what is already being done and what else needs to be done to control this risk.
    • Each time the Marshall goes to the crossing point they must check to see if anything has changed e.g.
      • Trip hazards
      • Slippery surfaces (icy paths/roads, spillages etc.)
      • Large puddles
      • Poor visibility (fog, heavy rain, snow etc.)
      • Roadworks
      • Parked vehicles
      • Faults with the highway surface
    • If it’s not a significant hazard there will be control measures that can be put in place e.g. moving location or warning people of the hazard. Major hazards will need to be reported to the School who can contact the Council for advice.
  • School Responsibilities


    • Recruit, select and appoint a suitable person/people.
    • Appoint a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal Co-ordinator within the School and ensure the Marshal has their name and contact details.
    • Carry out a DBS check for the Marshal/s
    • Identify a safe and suitable crossing location following consultation with Devon County Council’s Road Safety Team.
    • Include the Marshal in other relevant training and development opportunities e.g. Safeguarding, Risk Management, First Aid.
    • Seek advice from Devon County Council’s Road Safety team should the road situation and conditions change significantly.


    Whilst these are discretionary, these actions will facilitate the smooth operation of the Volunteer School Crossing Marshal Service

    • Develop a timetable and rota, if there is more than one Marshal.
    • Advise parents/carers of the Marshal and their role. See our suggested wording in ‘Informing parents and carers’)
    • Advise parents/carers if the crossing point is unmanned or has changed, for example, due to roadworks.
    • Routinely remind parents they remain responsible for ensuring their child’s safety on every aspect of the School journey regardless of whether there is a Marshal, School Crossing Patrol or a formal crossing.
  • Devon County Council Responsibilities
    • Risk Assessment of the site – initial and follow up assessment when requested by the School.
    • Delivery of initial road safety training to the Crossing Marshal based on the Highway Code and any follow up training that is deemed necessary. The Volunteer School Crossing Marshal Co-ordinator at the School should attend the initial training.
    • One road safety visit per year during the school Autumn term.
    • Road safety guidance and advice to the School and the Marshal, when requested.
  • Insurance
    • Volunteer School Crossing Marshals at Devon County Council maintained Schools will be insured under the Council’s public liability policy.
    • Non-Devon County Council schools will have to make their own insurance arrangements for the Volunteer School Crossing Marshal as the Council’s insurance is limited to the Council’s schools.
  • High visibility clothing
    • This is provided by the School, however this can sometimes be supplied by the Road Safety Team.
    • A full length high visibility coat is strongly recommended as it will make the Marshal more visible.
    • The coat should be fully fastened to ensure the Marshal is as visible as possible to drivers.
    • It may also help pedestrians and drivers identify the Marshal as someone who represents the School. Children who are walking to School without an adult may find this particularly useful.
    • The Health and Safety Executive website advises the British Standard for high visibility warning clothing is BS EN 471
    • The Marshal must not use a STOP sign/pole as they cannot stop traffic.
  • Incidents

    If there is an incident, when a Marshal considers that a driver has behaved in a dangerous way or there has been a near miss, for instance, the Marshal should inform the School. The Marshal can also report this to the Police on their non-emergency number 101 or website.

    For more serious incidents the Marshal or the School should call the Police on 999 and the School. The Marshal should obtain as much information and evidence as possible – vehicle registration mark, type and colour of vehicle, date, time and names and contact details of two witnesses.

  • Informing parents and carers

    Suggested wording to parents and carers to advise of a new Volunteer School Crossing Marshal starting.

    • “We are pleased to advise that we have recruited a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal. Their name is Mr/s ENTER NAME and will start on DATE. We are very grateful for this assistance from the Marshal.
    • A Volunteer School Crossing Marshal is a voluntary helper recruited, ‘employed’ and managed by the School and trained by the Road Safety team at Devon County Council to help and support children crossing the road.
    • They will be working at ENTER LOCATION on ENTER DAYS AND TIMES however please be aware that they are a volunteer and may not work every day.
    • Can you please advise your child of the role of the Marshal and ask them to listen to their instructions. They will be wearing high visibility clothing.
    • We realise that some children are confident and have been trained to cross independently. They, of course, can still cross at this location.
    • We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that parents/carers remain responsible for ensuring their child’s safety on every aspect of the School journey regardless of whether there is a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal, School Crossing Patrol or a formal crossing.
    • Finally, if you would like to be a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal or require any more information please contact us”
  • General road safety reminder for parents and carers

    Suggested wording for parents/carers as a routine reminder in newsletters etc

    • We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that parents/carers remain responsible for ensuring their child’s safety on every aspect of the School journey regardless of whether there is a Volunteer School Crossing Marshal, School Crossing Patrol or a formal crossing.”
    • Advice on safe crossing procedures for children can be found in the Highway Code. See Rule 7
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