‘Elf & safety nonsense

high vis kidsI took the dog for a walk in Adderbury on Friday last and observed children from the primary school walking in long lines to the parish church. There were two separate groups of quite young children, walking in what I always called a “crocodile” in my school days.  What was exceptional about these crocodiles? Every small child was kitted out in a tiny, bright yellow, high-visibility vest.  Teachers at the front and back of each crocodile were similarly kitted out.  

I wish I had thought to buy some shares in whichever company makes these yellow vests. They must be coining it in with the current ‘elf & safety craze.

When these kids arrive at school in the morning, they do not stroll along the street in high-visibility jackets; nor do they don them on leaving school in the early afternoon.  I fear some jobsworth may soon be decreeing that they should be worn in the playground with hard hats and protective goggles if the little kiddies might be playing conkers or jacks!  I wish I was joking!

However, when they form up in a crocodile to walk into the village, what is the imperative to wear high visibility gear?  My concern is the cost of kitting out all of the chilren; the time it takes to get them kitted out and the impact on the children of making them feel that a walk to the parish church is somehow different and difficult and, even, dangerous.  I am also saddened that schools with a strict uniform policy – would that they all had one – are degrading the value of the uniform by substituting the nasty yellow plastic vests for something of which all children should be proud.

About Keith R Mitchell CBE

Qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1967. Pursued a successful career in financial training and publishing until selling his interests in 1990. Elected a County Councillor for the Bloxham Division in 1989. Leader of Oxfordshire County Council 5 November 2001 to 15 May 2012. Chairman of the South East England Regional Planning Committee July 2002 to July 2005. Chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly July 2005 to July 2008. In HM the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours, appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of services to local government.
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