'It's created bedlam' - row erupts over school entry changes in Sheffield

Traffic on Bellhouse Road in Firth Park at the end of the school day
Traffic on Bellhouse Road in Firth Park at the end of the school day
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A row has erupted after a school changed the location of its main entrance, with furious neighbours accusing it of putting people's safety at risk.

Pupils at Firth Park Academy, in Sheffield, used to be able to choose from three entrances but are now restricted to just one in Bellhouse Road.

The entrance to Firth Park Academy

The entrance to Firth Park Academy

The school claims this will improve students' behaviour and make them safer, by allowing staff to better monitor them as they arrive and leave.

But neighbouring residents say the decision, which took effect last Monday (July 10), has caused huge congestion on what is already a busy road, with the daily snarl-ups leading to a surge in reckless driving.

They say parents often stop in the middle of the road and let children out into moving traffic, while impatient motorists are endangering pedestrians by mounting the pavement.

The school's principal, Dean Jones, says the change has not only enabled staff to better monitor pupils but has opened up space for a new open-air classroom.

He says a new crossing patrol and 'no loading' restrictions planned near the entrance will address safety concerns, and the school is also pushing for the speed limit to be lowered and other traffic calming measures.

"Good behaviour, smart uniforms, prompt attendance, and, above all, student safety are key requirements at Firth Park Academy, and these can only be achieved through close monitoring by staff of a single point of entry to the academy from Bellhouse Road every morning," he said.

He added that the single access point was introduced following consultation with students, parents and the local community. He said they had welcomed plans to create an outdoor classroom between the school and its Sicey Avenue car park where students can learn gardening, building and car maintenance skills.

A petition has been launched by residents of Bellhouse Road and surrounding streets.

Emma Woodrow, a retired teacher living on Bellhouse Road, said: "A thousand children coming and going via the only road which doesn't have any traffic restrictions or calming measures is not a safe situation."

Other Bellhouse Road residents also voiced their anger, with Sylvia Emerson describing it as 'an accident waiting to happen', Mohammad Yousuf saying he was 'concerned' for students' safety.

Wendy Balilaj, who is a former traffic warden, said: "It's horrendous. It's created bedlam. It's not safe for the students, it's not safe for the residents and it's not safe for anyone else in the area at those times."