THE majority of schools across south Essex re-opened after more freezing weather, while some chose to remain closed for health and safety reasons.

Woodlands School in Takely End, Basildon, which is at the top of a hill just outside the town centre, remained closed for a second day, as did Ramsden Hall School in Billericay.

Headteachers have defended their decisions to stay closed and said they have hundreds of people to think about and that they don’t take decisions to close lightly.

Andy White, who has been headteacher at Woodlands for 23 years, said:

“We have only closed 13 times in the whole time I have been here and I assure you each time it is a difficult decision.

“On Monday I couldn’t get even my car off my drive so I walked three miles to the school to make sure I was here.”

Leigh Beck Infant and Nursery School, in Point Road, Canvey was forced to close the school on Monday after the boiler broke, as temperatures plummeted below freezing.

She explained how her staff braved the freezing conditions in a bid to remain open only to find the boiler had broken down.

Gill Chapman, head teacher of the school, said: “It was a bit disappointing not to be able to open.

"It is a big decision for a head teacher to close a school, and one we don’t take lightly, but I can’t have infant and nursery children in without any heating, they would’ve been freezing.

“There are a lot of things a head teacher must take into consideration such as whether it is safe for pupils, and teachers to travel in, but in this case the closure was unavoidable.”

On Monday Porters Grange Primary School in Southend closed while Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, which are just 200m apart stayed open.

Education Secretary Michael Gove, added: “Everything can and should be done to keep schools open during the wintry weather.

“More than 5,000 schools have closed across the country on Monday as a result of adverse weather conditions.

"Thanks to changes that this government has made, no school which ensures that it is open will be penalised if individual students cannot make it to school on that day."