Headteachers across south Essex defend school closures due to snow

Headteachers across south Essex defend school closures due to snow

Headteachers across south Essex defend school closures due to snow

First published in Echo News
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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."

Comments (13)

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9:08am Thu 24 Jan 13

mikepaterson says...

Why is it that Schools like Westcliff High for Boys are ALWAYS able to remain open despite suffering the same weather conditions?

What would happen to the children living in Scandinavia, or the mountainous areas of Europe if the Schools shut every time it snowed?

This sort of action by some schools is detrimental to our children's education and causes a knock-on effect to British Industry which suddenly loses tens of thousands of workers who need to look after their children because the school cannot be bothered to do its job.

MAD!
Why is it that Schools like Westcliff High for Boys are ALWAYS able to remain open despite suffering the same weather conditions? What would happen to the children living in Scandinavia, or the mountainous areas of Europe if the Schools shut every time it snowed? This sort of action by some schools is detrimental to our children's education and causes a knock-on effect to British Industry which suddenly loses tens of thousands of workers who need to look after their children because the school cannot be bothered to do its job. MAD! mikepaterson
  • Score: 0

9:36am Thu 24 Jan 13

streetboy75 says...

i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,
i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over, streetboy75
  • Score: 0

9:43am Thu 24 Jan 13

Sweet P says...

Do what they do in the U S A if the school is closed for the day add the day on to the end of term making their Summer holidays shorter. No time lost then
Do what they do in the U S A if the school is closed for the day add the day on to the end of term making their Summer holidays shorter. No time lost then Sweet P
  • Score: 0

11:09am Thu 24 Jan 13

Eric Whim says...

nice to have a few days off eh teach?
nice to have a few days off eh teach? Eric Whim
  • Score: 0

11:39am Thu 24 Jan 13

Letmetryagain says...

The health and safety issue is an urban myth, I do wish schools wouldn't keep coming up with this excuse.

Just say that it's easier to close the school, than it is to keep it open.
The health and safety issue is an urban myth, I do wish schools wouldn't keep coming up with this excuse. Just say that it's easier to close the school, than it is to keep it open. Letmetryagain
  • Score: 0

11:58am Thu 24 Jan 13

perini says...

However did we get an education eh? I remember snow in the 60's/70's - when the majority of people walked or bussed to school. There was never an issue getting there - just had to leave a bit earlier. The play-grounds were never cleared, the paths may/may not have been cleared but guess what? We learnt it hurt if you fell down so after the first time you made sure it didn't happen again! We didn't need H&S to tell us that! Strangely enough - noone got broken legs and the world still revolved. JFDI instead of moaning!
However did we get an education eh? I remember snow in the 60's/70's - when the majority of people walked or bussed to school. There was never an issue getting there - just had to leave a bit earlier. The play-grounds were never cleared, the paths may/may not have been cleared but guess what? We learnt it hurt if you fell down so after the first time you made sure it didn't happen again! We didn't need H&S to tell us that! Strangely enough - noone got broken legs and the world still revolved. JFDI instead of moaning! perini
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 24 Jan 13

Beth the original one says...

streetboy75 wrote:
i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,
stop namby pambying them, no wonder we have a generation of wimps. If they are not at school learning, they will only be out in the snow anyway, so your arguement doesnt hold much water does it.

grow a backbone
[quote][p][bold]streetboy75[/bold] wrote: i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,[/p][/quote]stop namby pambying them, no wonder we have a generation of wimps. If they are not at school learning, they will only be out in the snow anyway, so your arguement doesnt hold much water does it. grow a backbone Beth the original one
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Thu 24 Jan 13

rochfordfa says...

Beth the original one wrote:
streetboy75 wrote:
i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,
stop namby pambying them, no wonder we have a generation of wimps. If they are not at school learning, they will only be out in the snow anyway, so your arguement doesnt hold much water does it.

grow a backbone
Agree with you Beth the original one, the kids will be off school sledging down hills, throwing snowballs (or iceballs) at each other and walking on footpaths and roads that have not been cleared and probably more likely to have an accident and be off school than going into school and not being allowed in the playground at break times.

streetboy75 Also the kids should be ready for school and then, when you find out it is open they don't have to rush around to get ready. If it is shut then the kids can get changed out of school uniform for the rest of the day!.
[quote][p][bold]Beth the original one[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]streetboy75[/bold] wrote: i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,[/p][/quote]stop namby pambying them, no wonder we have a generation of wimps. If they are not at school learning, they will only be out in the snow anyway, so your arguement doesnt hold much water does it. grow a backbone[/p][/quote]Agree with you Beth the original one, the kids will be off school sledging down hills, throwing snowballs (or iceballs) at each other and walking on footpaths and roads that have not been cleared and probably more likely to have an accident and be off school than going into school and not being allowed in the playground at break times. streetboy75 Also the kids should be ready for school and then, when you find out it is open they don't have to rush around to get ready. If it is shut then the kids can get changed out of school uniform for the rest of the day!. rochfordfa
  • Score: 0

2:01pm Thu 24 Jan 13

emcee says...

streetboy75 wrote:
i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,
Did you ever go to school?
Just asking.
[quote][p][bold]streetboy75[/bold] wrote: i think more schools should stay closed when we have heavy snow and conditons are un safe, both our kids junior ans senior schools were open Monday, but the play grands were ungritted totaly unsafe, the schools moan about kids being off but what happens when they are off due to a broken leg due to the bad conditions and the schools have not cleared walk ways and so on, not only that our two kids went to school monday walked 2 miles for one and 3 for the other as roads were not gritted, only to find at the senior school that there was not enough teachers for everyclass so teachers had to over see a 3-4 classes and keep doors open in class rooms , free for all spings to mind, my sons class of 30 had 17 kids in, the other issue is why do schools leave it tothe last mimite to inform us if they are open or closed, we was calling the schools all morning no reply which tells us there not open, no messages on the web sites then 45 mins before school starts oh yes were opening, then its a mad rush and then to have to walk, well thst my rant over,[/p][/quote]Did you ever go to school? Just asking. emcee
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Thu 24 Jan 13

emcee says...

The problem here is headteachers pander to the health and safety panic.
If only half the teachers make it in and only half the kids make it in, so what?
Chuck all the kids in the school hall and show educational films or something. We used to love going to school on days when the weather was bad because you knew that it was not going to be a normal day and would, indeed, turn out to be quite fun.
The trouble is that headteachers rarely have any proper "adverse weather" contigency plans to ensure that the kids who make it in are educated. The only contingency plans headteachers seem to have these days is "close the school". And they make this decision BEFORE they know what the attendance will be. They always ASSUME the attendance will be low. I bet if they were to open a lot of the kids and staff will actually attend because those who don't had better have a dam* good excuse why they did not. The car being snowed in a mile away would be no excuse.
The problem here is headteachers pander to the health and safety panic. If only half the teachers make it in and only half the kids make it in, so what? Chuck all the kids in the school hall and show educational films or something. We used to love going to school on days when the weather was bad because you knew that it was not going to be a normal day and would, indeed, turn out to be quite fun. The trouble is that headteachers rarely have any proper "adverse weather" contigency plans to ensure that the kids who make it in are educated. The only contingency plans headteachers seem to have these days is "close the school". And they make this decision BEFORE they know what the attendance will be. They always ASSUME the attendance will be low. I bet if they were to open a lot of the kids and staff will actually attend because those who don't had better have a dam* good excuse why they did not. The car being snowed in a mile away would be no excuse. emcee
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Thu 24 Jan 13

mikepaterson says...

Look if the schools did what they were paid to do, they would always be open (force majeurw excepted), and the vast majority of children would be able to get in.

This particular icy blast cause very few problems at all. All the major roads and many minor ones had been well salted and were clear.

The health and safety line is ridiculous and is used far too frequentlly. I understand that if the temperature drops too low, then it is dangerous, but surely Schools should call out emergency plumbers if their heating breaks.

What example are Schools setting when they use flimsy excuses to close the school. It is not suprising that we have a class of lazy work-shy spongers.
Look if the schools did what they were paid to do, they would always be open (force majeurw excepted), and the vast majority of children would be able to get in. This particular icy blast cause very few problems at all. All the major roads and many minor ones had been well salted and were clear. The health and safety line is ridiculous and is used far too frequentlly. I understand that if the temperature drops too low, then it is dangerous, but surely Schools should call out emergency plumbers if their heating breaks. What example are Schools setting when they use flimsy excuses to close the school. It is not suprising that we have a class of lazy work-shy spongers. mikepaterson
  • Score: 0

10:44pm Thu 24 Jan 13

daninorth says...

The schools can't win, if they open & do not have the teachers or staff needed to run the school appropriately parents will say they shouldn't of opened,also some children have to use public transport as they live too far so the condition of that also needs to be taken into account, the schools have a duty to do right by the students which is why some feel it's better not to open, as for parents moaning as they have to work,that is not one of their considerations due to the simple fact they are not childminders.
The schools can't win, if they open & do not have the teachers or staff needed to run the school appropriately parents will say they shouldn't of opened,also some children have to use public transport as they live too far so the condition of that also needs to be taken into account, the schools have a duty to do right by the students which is why some feel it's better not to open, as for parents moaning as they have to work,that is not one of their considerations due to the simple fact they are not childminders. daninorth
  • Score: 0

12:22am Fri 25 Jan 13

emcee says...

daninorth wrote:
The schools can't win, if they open & do not have the teachers or staff needed to run the school appropriately parents will say they shouldn't of opened,also some children have to use public transport as they live too far so the condition of that also needs to be taken into account, the schools have a duty to do right by the students which is why some feel it's better not to open, as for parents moaning as they have to work,that is not one of their considerations due to the simple fact they are not childminders.
If parents refuse to, or are unable, to get their children to school on days where there is "adverse weather" then that is down to the parent. It is then up to the parent to explain to the school why that child did not go to school. It would then be up to the the school to decide whether that excuse was valid or not. Just as they do when a child is off sick.
Working parents will also be faced with a choice. Do all they can to get get kids to school or miss a days work. I bet you will find that the majority of decent working parents would make sure their kids got to school.
It should not be up to headteachers or their managment team to decide or assume that children will not attend school or take away any decisions or reponsibilities from the parents when it comes to ensuring whether the child can or cannot get into school during snaps of poor weather.
[quote][p][bold]daninorth[/bold] wrote: The schools can't win, if they open & do not have the teachers or staff needed to run the school appropriately parents will say they shouldn't of opened,also some children have to use public transport as they live too far so the condition of that also needs to be taken into account, the schools have a duty to do right by the students which is why some feel it's better not to open, as for parents moaning as they have to work,that is not one of their considerations due to the simple fact they are not childminders.[/p][/quote]If parents refuse to, or are unable, to get their children to school on days where there is "adverse weather" then that is down to the parent. It is then up to the parent to explain to the school why that child did not go to school. It would then be up to the the school to decide whether that excuse was valid or not. Just as they do when a child is off sick. Working parents will also be faced with a choice. Do all they can to get get kids to school or miss a days work. I bet you will find that the majority of decent working parents would make sure their kids got to school. It should not be up to headteachers or their managment team to decide or assume that children will not attend school or take away any decisions or reponsibilities from the parents when it comes to ensuring whether the child can or cannot get into school during snaps of poor weather. emcee
  • Score: 0

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