Skip to content

Access keys for

  • h Home
  • m Menu
  • 0 Show list of access keys
  • 2 Skip to content
  • 3 Skip to top
School wardens.

Unlike school patrols, school wardens (sometimes called traffic wardens) don’t step into the road, stop or control traffic.

However, they provide a valuable safety check for school children – most commonly at unmarked crossing points, but also at pedestrian crossings where no school patrols are operating and at traffic-light crossings.

School wardens wear the same uniforms as school patrols, but use their arms (as ‘barrier arms’) to stop pedestrians crossing the road until it’s clear of approaching traffic. School wardens don’t use STOP signs, or any other sign and flag.

School wardens usually work in pairs (with one designated the leader) with a supervising adult.

All wardens must be trained by your school community officer and supervisors inducted on the team’s procedures.

4.1 Getting ready for your school warden operation

As a first step, your school board of trustees must advise the road controlling authority that you’d like to set up a school warden crossing.

Working together, your school, your school community officer and the road controlling authority will decide whether you need a school traffic safety team and, if so, where to locate your crossing point(s). This means taking into account:

  • where pedestrians usually choose to cross
  • the place(s) likely to be most convenient for children and other pedestrians (to ensure the children use it)
  • the need for good visibility for both school wardens and approaching drivers. This might involve restricting parking close to the crossing point.

The next step is to choose up to 15 students. Just like school patrol members, they should:

  • be willing and physically able to do the job
  • be reliable and punctual
  • be comfortable about, and confident in, making decisions
  • have good judgement
  • find it easy to concentrate
  • take their responsibilities seriously
  • turn up for duty on time, every time.

You also need to:

4.1.1 Developing rosters

When developing your rosters, try to give each warden a regular turn. Give them copies of their rosters to take home, so that their parents or caregivers 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 person is available if a school warden unexpectedly fails to turn up on time.

4.1.2 Establishing warden start and finish times

The best start and finish times for your school wardens will depend on when children arrive and leave. Ideally, they should be on duty 30 minutes before school starts and at least five minutes before school finishes.

4.2 Your school warden team

Usually, school wardens operate in teams of two, as this enables them to keep a good eye on the road and the children. However, they can operate alone if there’s good visibility and little traffic on the road.

If you’re concerned about visibility problems – perhaps because the crossing is near a corner – discuss the options with your school community officer or road controlling authority. It may be better to move the crossing or establish a school patrol or, in exceptional circumstances, have a third warden join the team.

4.2.1 The school warden leader

Each school warden team includes a leader. Your school community officer often confirm leaders during training, choosing only the most capable students for the role.

The leader:

  • should have the best overall view of the road in both directions
  • controls the operation.

4.2.2 The warden supervisor

The warden 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:

  • check that it operates correctly and according to the procedures covered in the training
  • monitor people at the crossing to ensure they comply with the patrol commands
  • observe and report to the principal any hazards that affect the safe operation of the school traffic safety team eg incidents or near misses
  • observe and formally record details of any incidents involving unsafe or illegal driver behaviour, such as parking illegally.

4.3 School wardens in action

School wardens don’t use any equipment to manage children waiting to cross a road. They simply raise one or both arms (barrier arms) to indicate to children that they should wait, and give clear instructions on when to cross.

4.3.1 School wardens at pedestrian and uncontrolled crossings

At a pedestrian or uncontrolled crossing, the wardens stand facing each other on opposite sides of the road.

  1. When children arrive, the wardens raise their barrier arms to keep them well back from the kerb, and call ‘Wait’.
  2. The leader identifies a suitable gap in the traffic, and calls ‘Check’.
  3. The second member checks it is clear to the marks, and calls ‘Clear’.
  4. The leader calls ‘Cross now’, and both wardens lower their barrier arms.
  5. The wardens encourage the children to walk quickly so they don’t hold up the traffic.
  6. If required to prevent latecomers running onto the road, the wardens raise their barrier arms, and call ‘Wait’.

If only one warden is used, they should stand on the side that most children cross from. The calls of ‘Check’ and ‘Clear’ are not required.

Warden calls

Going on duty

Leader: Check

2nd member: Clear

Leader: Cross now

Operating wardens

Leader: Wait, Check

2nd member: Clear

Leader: Cross now

Going off duty

Leader: Check

2nd member: Clear

Leader: Cross now

Note: wardens do not cross the road with pedestrians or stand on the road.

4.3.2 School wardens at traffic-light crossings

School warden at traffic-light crossings.

At a crossing controlled by traffic signals:

  1. The warden presses the button, raises their barrier arm, and calls ‘Wait’.
  2. When the ‘green person’ shows, the warden checks that traffic is stopping, including turning traffic if appropriate.
  3. When it’s safe, the warden lowers their arm, and calls ‘Cross now’.
  4. When the signal turns starts flashing or turns red, the warden raises their barrier arm and calls ‘Wait’ to any further pedestrians wanting to cross.


Top Feedback