To be very annoyed with school snow policy

(97 Posts)
pouffepants Fri 18-Jan-13 17:47:12

To my astonishment this morning both primary (local) and secondary (8 miles away, closest one) said they were open, despite it chucking it down with snow.

I was pleased, since I figure things should go ahead if possible, so I sent ds (16) out to catch his bus as usual, and got dds ready to take to their school on the way to work. I knew there was a chance that the bus wouldn't turn up, but there's not much you can do about that, I just figured he'd come home again. I knew he had an exam today, but there's no way I could drive him to school at that time. If he came home, I could try to drive him to school late.

So did my school run, and tried to drive to work. My usual route is back roads, and it became obvious that was a bad idea, so I had to go via the town ds was going to. Saw 3 accidents, and after sitting in traffic for 30 mins, and the radio implying from all the delays reported that it would take 2.5 hours to get to work, I gave up and came home.

Found messages from ds when I got home. No bus, but instead of coming home, had gone to his friend's house, by the bus stop. He phoned the school to say he couldn't get in, and they said he must make every effort. He explained no buses, but they said he MUST get in, or he would fail, and they wouldn't reschedule, since the exam was running. Ds' friend's mum said she'd try to get him there since she's a nurse and had to try to get to work anyway. She has a 4x4.

I rang the school, they insisted, he must get in. They then rang back, and said they were shutting at 12, so he must be there before 10. I rang ds, and he was a matter of mins away, at 9.50, would just make it. The school then texted to say they were shutting, and cancelling the exam!

So now ds is in town, with a nurse, who has to get to work. So she left him at the bus station, where he attempts to find a bus, of course there are none, and we're now up to about 6 inches of snow. There are several hundred teenagers at the bus station stranded. So I get a phone call to try to collect him. I said I'd give it a go, but he'd have to start to walk.

So I head back up that road again. Pleasantly surprised that it's improved somewhat due to the volume of traffic over it, more slush, less ice and compacted snow on the main bits. Glad that I manage about 6 miles, and meet ds after he's walked 2 miles, and he doesn't have to walk down the busy bit with sharp bends where he would have to walk on the road way along with the sliding cars.

Now I'm all for carrying on, but isn't it just irresponsible to INSIST that everyone gets in regardless of their personal circumstances, and people's personal decisions about safety?

RedHelenB Fri 18-Jan-13 17:49:42

YABU to expect the school to have sixth sense as to whether the snow would get worse or not.

MrsMcEnroe Fri 18-Jan-13 17:49:53

Yes it is irresponsible. DH's school made alternative arrangements for exams today (they are AS Level resits); those that couldn't make it in to school today have been authorised to sit their exam in the summer instead. Very poor of your DS' school.

I've seen some really bonkers decisions today. Its difficult if its an external exam but todays snow has been really well forecast for many and my feeling is, if the Police are saying stay off the road, then thats quite a good cue for schools to close.

redhelen! thats what forecasts are for! and they've been pretty spot on (apart from for poor manchester)

MagicHouse Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:18

I would have found that infuriating! Especially after all their insistence about him coming in and worrying him with talk of failure. You would hope they would be really embarrassed by this. I bet what happened is that they tried to insist, but simly too many children were unabale to make it, and they realised they would have to backtrack.
I'm not sure what you could do, other than complain in writing.

pouffepants Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:30

Redhelen, the snow was very heavy from 7.30 onwards.

And surely everyone should be able to make their own calls for themselves or their children regarding safety. I'm not asking the school to shut, but if ds and 2 responsible adults say it's dangerous/impossible, that should be enough!

XBenedict Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:49

YABU to expect the school to have sixth sense as to whether the snow would get worse or not

What about the local weather forecast? We have been very well informed of this weather.

Fimbo Fri 18-Jan-13 17:52:50

Dd's school did as per Mrs McEnroe's post. Also they were told not to wear school uniform and to only attempt to come in, if they could.

ThingummyBob Fri 18-Jan-13 17:55:00

Where are you? In the UK? It sounds as though there has been an extraordinary amount if snow in your locality in a very short space of time.

I'm not sure what the school could do differently. What do you think they should have done? Cancelled the exam at the first sight of snow? Tbh, most exams are an automatic fail if you do not reach the exam centre in time.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Jan-13 17:58:40

External exams can't be rescheduled due to regional weather, they will have still run nationally. So the school would have to make every effort to accommodate those who were able to get in otherwise they'd be disadvantaged by having to take the exam in the next exam session when they will probably have other exams to concentrate on.

My school took account of the weather forecast and advised those with exams to either stay with friends close to the school or book into a guest house so that they could walk in. School was closed but the exams still went on.

snowybrrr Fri 18-Jan-13 17:59:37

I am confused by a lot of things
1) did your school not allow the kids who did get into take their modules? confused
2 why didn't you take your DS with you if you were going via the town his school was in and there was a possibility his bus wouldn't turn up
3 What do people mean by 'authorise them to take the exams in the summer'.why would you need to be authorised to sit them then? can't any pupil enter for a spring resit?

YouOldSlag Fri 18-Jan-13 17:59:54

YANBU. It's a safety issue. If there are no buses and no parent around, they are putting pressure on a teenager to put themselves at risk.

It also assumes everyone's parents are a) available and b) can drive and c) have a car.

I would be annoyed by this. I agree with OhYouBadBadKitten, if the police say stay off teh roads, the schools should follow those guidelines.

If exams can be rescheduled, then they should do that. I would write ot the Head or the Governers and ask for a robust policy to be put in place in future.

It sounds like a bloody shambles. All schools should have a back up plan in case of bad weather and snow days. We live in the Northern hemisphere, it's not like snow is a freak one-off occurrence!

RedHelenB Fri 18-Jan-13 18:02:45

Well we were forecast heavy snow today where I live but it didn't materialise.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 18:04:44

It is the exam that is the problem as others said they can't be rescheduled regionally.

We were closed today , apart for exams . ( although according to another thread that is because we are looking for any old wishy washy excuse not to attend work )

Those students who could walk in did, otherwise I was in school at 7:30 arranging lifts for students with other parents and members of staff who had 4x4s or were confident driving in the snow. many of these students were relying on buses that were not running. At be point my husband was out collecting students !

YouOldSlag Fri 18-Jan-13 18:06:49

By the way, we have 7 inches of snow outside, so the picture in my head is of similar conditions, not a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Snazzynewyear Fri 18-Jan-13 18:06:56

Better would have been to make a decision early and stuck to it. So having told everyone the exam was on, they should certainly have allowed those who had made it there to sit it. Highly annoying to switch at nearly the start time.

but it already hard started their redhelen and a simple glance at the radar would show what is to come. he have the technology nowadays! (am curious as to where you are but I wont ask cos you might not want to say)

Rainbowinthesky Fri 18-Jan-13 18:08:11

Ds sat an AS exam today and we were given warning in November that the exams would go ahead regardless of weather even if the rest of the school shut. We made arrangements to make sure he could get there and the rest of the school did close. Did they not prewarn you of their policy? We always get emailed exam regulations before exams.

Startail Fri 18-Jan-13 18:08:40

Our school told pupils to stay with friends in town and exams went ahead.

Hugely grateful Billy no mates DD1 only had an exam yesterday.

Honestly if they must have stupid modular exams in January, they need a system to cancel and reshedual them.

RedHelenB Fri 18-Jan-13 18:09:48

It's January & these things happen. I'm in Barnsley & it hasn't snowed according to the times forecast at all!!!

RedHelenB Fri 18-Jan-13 18:11:59

I suppose what I am saying is it'a a can't do right for doing wrong type situation. As OP was planning to drive into work I assumed that was why the c=school was open.

Well I started reading fully prepared to tell you that YABU but, no, YADNBU. I assume their plan was to bully as many students into travelling in regardless of the lack of buses and chaos on the roads. I suppose when none of the poor buggers made it they gave up. There's being stoic and carrying on regardless, and then there is just being reckless and unrealistic...

TidyDancer Fri 18-Jan-13 18:18:50

If the amount of snow that fell matched the amount that was forecast in your area, then the school have been completely irresponsible and downright stupid IMO.

If this was a freak surprise and you were only supposed to get a dusting of the white stuff then I don't blame the school for trying to open as usual.

That said, in your DS's circumstances (and regardless of what was forecast) I think they were wrong to insist he come in and tell him he would fail if he didn't. I suspect there will be a fair few complaints coming their way.

LivingInAPinkBauble Fri 18-Jan-13 18:20:36

Schools can't win though-shut and everyone moans about wimpy teachers, open and be forced to close and that's not good enough either, though YANBU about exam if it could be rescheduled. As a teacher should I admit that?! I travelled 3 hours each way in snow to have only half my class anyway.

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