DOZENS of primary and secondary schools across south Essex shut their doors despite criticisms from parents and the road being clear.

Most main roads across the county were treated by Essex County Council gritters before the heaviest of the snow fell and they worked hard to keep main routes including the A127 and A13 clear.

Despite main routes being quiet and clear due to the lack of school traffic many schools in Basildon, Southend and Castle Point closed.

In Basildon James Hornsby School in Laindon had senior teachers in at 5am monitoring the snow situation and they also invested in a snow blower to help clear paths and the car park.

Stuart Reynolds, interim headteachers at the Leinster Road school, said: “We were monitoring the situation from last week and made sure teachers who live near the school came in early.

“As a parent I understand the frustration of parents whose children cannot go to school if it is shut. School is the best place for children and I don’t see why a school wouldn’t open.

“We do all we can to stay open and invested in a snow blower to do the work of several people. Our caretakers were on site on Sunday clearing the paths as it snowed and also got in really early on Monday.

“All of our staff managed to get in and that’s how we were able to open. The only reason I can see for schools not opening is if their staff cannot get in or for health and safety reasons.”

While the Basildon Academies, which has sites in Timberlog Close and Wickford Avenue, stayed open just down the road Woodlands School and De La Salle School in Basildon both closed their doors except for students in Year 11 taking exams.

While many primary schools in Basildon shut their doors most schools in Wickford opened apart from Bromfords School.

In Billericay Mayflower School in Stock Road stayed open and assistant headteacher Jonathan Rowland updated the school website at 5.40am.

He said: “I was up from 5am monitoring the situation and we were lucky to have some contractors on site who helped clear the snow quickly so we could make the site safe.”

Billericay School in School Lane closed because contractors could not get on the school site on Sunday to use the snow plough because of the large scale building work taking place.

In Castle Point the snow fiasco continued King John School in Shipwrights Drive, Thunderlsey stayed open and the Deanes School in Daws Heath Road, Thundeslsey which closed.

In Southend Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School stayed open and Porters Grange Primary School in Lancaster Gardens, which are just 200m apart, closed.

Eastwood Academy in Leigh closed its doors while Chase High School, in Westcliff, was forced to close at 10.30am after its boiler broke down.

A school spokeswoman said: “We had to call parents because it was getting very cold and the pupils couldn’t stay in the school.”

Gavin Dixon, 51, who is the church leader at Kings Church Southend and has a 17-year-old son in sixth format Southend High School for Boys which stayed open was annoyed that some schools opened and some shut.

He said: “It seems that some schools make the decision too quickly on if they are going to open or not. You can understand with special schools because the situation is different.

“My son’s school Southend High for Boys has a policy where it never closes and instead of walking today he got a bus.

“It is very strange how some schools open and some schools do not when they are in such close proximity of one another. “The roads are in very good condition this time round.”