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School closures. How have they affected you?

I was disappointed to hear a head teacher defending his decision to close his school recently because of the snow.
Have you any views on the closure of schools this winter? If you have I'd love to hear them.


Showing 17 of 17
James M
It seems much better this year - I don't know if the headteachers were giving a bawling out last time.  I don't think snow is ever an excuse for closing schools in the middle of towns anyway.  Perhaps if snow leave was unpaid, people would be less likely to take it.
Going back to the 70s, I don't remember my school ever being closed due to weather, and we had some bad winters then. What's changed?
James M
People travel farther to work these days because of house prices and car culture, so travel disruption can affect them more than years ago.  But how far to live away from your job is a decision everyone has to take, and if you let it affect your ability to turn up for work, then that's not fair - other people manage it.

In Scotland, when travel is bad, teachers are allocated a nearer school to go to, the idea being that there will still be enough cover at all schools to let them open.  Even if classes are not as god as they would be with the usual teachers, at least parents don't have to take days off or arrange childcare cover.
S here

in the 70s there were no get rich quick

Solicitors waiting to jump on the headmaster if a child or teacher get hurt good old heath and safety

Seems funny to me that the vast majority of workers get to work without problems, maybe a bit longer travel time... But if i fail to turn up for work i don't get paid, so that's quite in insentive for me..and i'm sure that most teachers and pupils can get to school, anyone heard of walking these days. And i notice no one had problems getting to local parks with their sledges, no h & s there ...
Trevor G
My recollection of schooldays in the snow as a child in the 60s was how much fun it was. Lunch hour was often spent building snowmen and snowball fights with the teachers joining in.

Undoubtedly there are many dedicated professional teachers out there, but they have to make their own contingency plans to get to work in bad weather. Allowing payment for missed days makes the choice not to work more of an attraction.

Many emergency workers with children depend on their children being at school, when the school closes it has a knock on effect for everybody, so such a decision to close must not be taken lightly.

There is one consolation those who had to travel to work in many cases were not hampered by the school run.
Elaine D
On the other side of the debate, schools are not merely a babysitting service, if your child was ill you would have to either have time off work or arrange care for the child so whats the difference? The TV says 'if your journey is not necessary don't go out, then we have a dig when teachers stay at home. Having said all this I have to go to work or I don't get paid!
James M
It's a good point, but I think when the weatherman says 'if your journey is not necessary don't go out' - they mean trivial shopping, visiting, pleasure driving, etc.  They don't mean 'don't go to work' ! 

Work is a neccessity for most people, and like many others, if I don't go in then it is an unpaid day, so we get quite annoyed when we are forced to lose a day's pay because of teachers who are being paid for staying at home.  You can see why we get annoyed?
Spotty Dog
Elaine D asks what's the difference between having to make arrangements if the school is closed or your child is sick. The big difference is that not all children are sick simultaneously so you don't get ALL the nurses on one ward not turning up or lots of the bus drivers in your company at home together etc. When a child is sick you may have a family member available to help but when the schools close that family member may have her own children at home and/or have to make that "unnecessary journey" in the snow.

From my observations the other contributors here are right, everybody else makes an effort to get to work, most seem to get there and every other service seems to be running so why don't the teachers make an effort.

I believe (like the guy mentioned on the TV) the teachers hide behind Health and Safety rules as an excuse but then send the kids home to play unsupervised. They don't care about the children, they simply fear they may get sued. Why not get parents to sign a contract accepting responsibility for their child whilst on school premises or get the caretakers out a bit earlier to clear the paths, the road gritters are up all night aren't they?

Having said all that I think in Ipswich it has been a lot better his year (so far!), maybe our message is getting to them.
Matthew G
I don't think Health and Safety comes into it at all.

Schools are required (by law) to have minimum ratios of staff to pupils.  If they can't make those levels then they are legally required to close.

And generally the kids live very locally to the school, so are highly likely to make it in, whereas teachers often live further away so have more trouble travelling.  Ultimately the headteacher has to make a judgement at 7am as to whether they are 100% confident that they will have the legal minimum number of teachers on site by the time the kids arrive.

This is partly the reason why private schools stay open more than state schools - because they tend to have a higher staffing ratio than the state schools so can still be sure of meeting the legal minimums even if some teachers can't get in.
James M
True Matthew , but it doesn't address WHY teachers can't make it in, while most other people can because they have to.  If they choose to live far from work, it's THEIR responsibility to make sure that choice doesn't impact on everyone else when it's bad weather.  Having to make up the lost hours, and/or not paying them would help.
Spotty Dog
Matthew G, that maybe true but that excuse wasn't mentioned by the assistant head who appeared on 'Look East' and took so much flack. If it were a fact I would have thought he would have said so. Also I cannot think the school would be prosecuted if they were deficient of teachers for 1 or 2 day(s) with genuine reason. Large schools these days have as many ancillary staff as teachers so should have "people" to supervise children.

Anyway the question still remains as to why the snow is heavier on teacher's driveways and in teacher's streets than everywhere else.
S F inactive
What's really sad is the fact that everybody seems to resent having an extra day at home with their children.  My son is now at work and when I look back, his years as a child flew past (far too quick), I absolutely loved it when his school closed because of snow.  That only happened a couple of times, it was just the odd day, it was a surprise unplanned for both of us, when he was younger, I could always find something to do with him activity wise, or we'd go to the park and have some fun in the snow.  Those days are gone now he's older and are just a memory.  So before everyone gets bitter about having to take a day off to look after their children once in a while, just remember that soon they'll be adults and their childhoods will be just a memory for you.  Oh and by the way, why have children if you so begrudge having the odd day off with them!  Cherish those days before they're gone!
James M
Very poignant, but that's what weekends are for.
S F inactive
Ah, so children are for weekends only?  How sad ......
S F i don't think ppl take who have to take time off work are bitter, i'm sure most would prefer to stay home and be with their children rather than go to work, but we are not all lotto winners (yet).. I think, that like everyone else they have to go to work to pay the bills, and for some it's a lot of money to lose. I'm sure you would find a lot more teachers getting to work if they had their pay docked..
James M
Not sad at all SF, it would be a lot sadder when the bailiffs arrived to throw us out if I stayed at home all day to play with the kids.

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