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To wish the head would decide tonight?!

(182 Posts)
PenguinBear Sun 20-Jan-13 19:11:06

Our head doesn't like to close (fair enough) so staff are
expected to be in as normal unless he has a change of heart in the morning. All the other local schools are shut. 2 of us live in the same village so we are travelling in together at 7am as we think it could take a long time to get there, even though we've been told by colleagues in the place where we work that roads are dreadful!

So the DC will also be in, although would rather not put them in the car if we could avoid!

It has snowed continually throughout the day and there are no signs of it stoping any time soon. AIBU To want the head to decide tonight rather than wait till 7am?

Euphemia Sun 20-Jan-13 22:26:55

Sparkly I wasn't sure how things worked in England, but I had a feeling teachers were employed by schools rather than the local authority. I can see how that would complicate matters! smile

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 22:27:29

I live in a village so I know the local children and used to work at the local school so def would offer to help if I could. However, no need - they just shut!

ninah Sun 20-Jan-13 22:28:11

I am employed by the LEA

scaevola Sun 20-Jan-13 22:34:51

Our secondary school has a notice on its website saying that it will be open for all who reach it; also information on when/how the company which provides the coaches covering the outliers will notify if it is running.

The primary, which made a Big Deal a couple of years ago about snow day communication via its website (which irked me then as it was before I had a smartphone) has nothing on the site whatsoever (either left over from Friday's early closure, or giving info on when/how a Monday morning message might emanate).

RustyBear Sun 20-Jan-13 22:36:24

"It's ridiculous though - it doesn't take 5 minutes to log in to the website and put up a notice to staff & pupils"

As I said above, ArkadyRose, it took me over 1.5 hours to get on to our website to update it - nothing I could do about that, the website provider's server kept timing out, probably because of increased traffic. I will be getting on to them about it tomorrow, but that doesn't help tonight....

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 22:38:46

Now I think about it, school posts used to be advertised by the LEA with a note as to which school it was for, but now they are advertised per school.

But still, surely a centralised register could be used by all schools that wish to opt in?

2kidsintow Sun 20-Jan-13 22:40:33

Our head has already stated on the website that we will be open. Considering the forecast, and the fact that not one member of staff works within walking distance, I think that is fairly optimistic.

Unfortunately the head has the opinion that to stay open is to "offer a service to the community" i.e. specifically babysit the children so parents can go to work.

My worry is that the notice will prompt many parents who might have otherwise checked tomorrow in the morning through the proper channels (county website) whether we were open (depending on the number of staff who have been able to infor the SMT whether they are able to safely get into school) to just set off regardless.

If enough members of staff haven't been able to get in, those that do could be struggling to effectively supervise (never mind teach) those children who do turn up.

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Sun 20-Jan-13 22:45:19

It's interesting to here how it does work in other places, thank you Euphemia smile

I live in one city and work in another - two LAs away from my school in fact! Within walking distance from me is a Special School (couldn't work there legally), two private schools, a Steiner School, some nurseries (don't have the qualifications) and a state school which is now an academy, and hence the staff there are now directly contracted by the school. We also have a Free school that opened this year, and I have no idea of the legalities of that. I don't have a CRB that is valid for any of these schools and as I am employed by a private school myself who knows what the legal position is. There are too many variables overall I think, in the current system, given the increasing disparity of educational provision within each district, never mind nationally.

wherearemysocka Sun 20-Jan-13 22:45:35

Even if staff can make it to their local school, you still have the problem of trying to supervise an unknown number of students with no clear direction of where they should go or what they should be doing.

Students would quickly realise that the majority of teachers don't know their names and have virtually no sanctions at their disposal should they behave dangerously. It's hard enough getting them to stop chucking ice and grit at each other when you do know who they are.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 22:48:40

Sparkly how on earth does an ordinary child go to school where you live?!

Seriously though, as I said an "opt-in" system could work in many areas couldnt it? Lets assume you have 20+ primaries and 6 seniors in your town (thats what we have here), if half of them opted in then thats half of them staying open. If the same number in the surrounding areas opted in then again, they are staying open.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 22:50:21

Where I would assume that normal teaching would go out of the window and that a HT wouldnt open without atleast some normal staff in attendance. Otherwise it would, as you say, be chaos. But group activities that may have some learning involved but are not necessarily classroom based "lessons" could be done.

difficultpickle Sun 20-Jan-13 22:51:24

Ds's school is open. They sent a text message and an email telling us to check the website. It would have been more useful for them to have sent a proper message as the website message was two sentences.

It is a 10 mile drive to get there and most of the schools round here are shut tomorrow. I just hope it stays open all day.

On Friday they sent a message at 10.30 saying school closed at 11.30. I called and they said it didn't apply to ds and I had to wait for another message. The message was sent at 11 telling me to collect at 11.30. I left the office immediately and got there at 2 having had two calls from the school asking where I was (I'd already given them my ETA which turned out to be spot on - 3 hours).

ISeeSmallPeople Sun 20-Jan-13 22:53:05

We had a message at 11.55 on Friday to collect at 12!

edam Sun 20-Jan-13 22:55:05

I'm usually on the grumbling side wrt ds's school being closed, although the head has got much better since the governors had a bit of a word... but then realised to my horror that I'd completely forgotten one of my team at work was due to drive to Wales tomorrow (from London). Until she texted me tonight to say um, it's not looking good... I am a Bad Boss. blush Of course I said no, don't go! But am rapping my own knuckles for not thinking of texting her way before now to say don't even think about it.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Sun 20-Jan-13 22:56:41

Im still waiting on news of DD's school, working 2moro so need to know.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 20-Jan-13 22:59:04

Actually, I am now employed by an academy. Would I still be required to work at another school? Allowed to work at another school? How does it work in Gove's Brave New World?

dayshiftdoris Sun 20-Jan-13 23:01:19

Ok

So what if this snow is here for 3 weeks?

You all suggesting the children are off that long?

You must be because there is no other solution apparently

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Sun 20-Jan-13 23:02:09

Sorry Bogeyface! I live in a city with an infamous gap in its state school/ private school provision - I just did a quick mental map of "within walking distance." So I did just half an hour's walk from where I live, allowing for it being snowy! Within the whole city, there are more state schools/ academies, etc!

That's the problem it comes back to though - your average secondary could have 1200/ 1500 children. All of my previous arguments still apply - a school isn't workable with just the teachers, it's a community. Who is going to run the kitchens? Manage the IT systems? Is a member of SMT definitely going to be available? A designated Child Protection Officer? Will there be enough TAs? Is there someone First Aid trained? Is there a caretaker with all the keys/ someone with the access codes to make the sight accessible? Has someone gone through the classrooms and checked surfaces to ensure no data has been left out so nothing is compromised? Does an SEN child have enough support for the day? Will there really be a whole school run with mostly strangers? Will the teachers coming back the next day mind their resources being used / maybe the wrong things moved or lost? And the fact remains, under current CP and data laws such a procedure is, I think, open to too many potentially dangerous situations. Schools are very strict on who they have on site throughout the year, that's the reason CRB adjustments were rushed through in the first place.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 20-Jan-13 23:03:38

I'm not saying there shouldn't be a plan. I'm saying there isn't a plan. Or rather, there is in Scotland, but not in England.

I'm with Euphemia - I'm a teacher in Scotland and have gone to my local secondary to work when I couldn't get to the school I worked in. It wasn't ideal, of course, but the pupils were fine and they just got on with work that was set and emailed to the school by their own teacher - no different to being on supply/doing cover lessons, really.

On days when schools are closed completely, I set work for my pupils through the intranet and they can email me if they need help. It's rare that we close though, even when the weather conditions are terrible.

The CRB (pvg in Scotland) thing works ok here because it covers you for the council you work in rather than the individual school.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 23:08:39

TFM, I just think that if a national system was in place where schools could opt-in to accept other teachers in this type of situation then it couldnt hurt and could help.

You are employed by an academy. So if they opted in then you would count as being at work that day and your payroll wouldnt be affected. You could offer to work at a school near you and as long as you marked yourself on the register as available as X or Y schools near you then you would count as working. IF they didnt need you then fair enough, but if they did then that school could stay open, as could your academy if staff from other school attended.

Over all it would work out better than the current system, which as you say, is non existent.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 20-Jan-13 23:10:44

CRB is now DBS by the way. Just as an aside!

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 23:11:54

But Sparkly as I said before, if the infrastructure isnt there then the school wont open, therefore the option of accepting staff from the local area isnt an issue. I would hope that no head would open a school if they couldnt guarantee the absolute minimum of infrastructure needed. But bearing in mind that most non-teaching staff tend to live more locally, there is a good chance that TA's, dinner supervisors, caretakers etc could attend, so all that is missing is teachers. And if you, as a teacher, could fill that gap then why not?

Euphemia meal provision has been mentioned as a reason it couldnt work. How does it work where you are?

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Sun 20-Jan-13 23:15:04

All teachers can do is work within the legal and cultural parameters created.

Yes, maybe in the old days society did 'get on with it' and wade through snowdrifts and whatever else. However, the reality is we are far from a world where the local village teacher taught in the local village and kids just walked to school and liked it. Nowadays it is the culture for people to accommodate long commutes into their working lives, children are driven by default in, it seems, the majority of cases, and in rural areas, face a long round trip. In most parts of the UK, we don't have snow that long.

Now, the culture is different -maybe thanks in part to Gove, but this has been the education world for a long time. Data protection, Health and Safety, CRB, child protection, increasing numbers of SEN and Statemented children. We have to risk assess them playing on grass, they have to wear hi-vi vests and walk in pairs, school visitors who volunteer have to be supervised and cannot be left alone with a child, it is easier than ever for false allegations to ruin a teacher's career - in their own school, never mind one they are randomly visiting, CRB checks have, tragically, proved to be only of a limited use anyway.

Within the current system, for all the reasons I have outlined before, then no. If there is that much snow for 3 weeks, the UK has bigger questions to answer about infrastructure and community provision then compromising it's strict policy laws. Paranoid or not, overblown or not, they are what teachers must work with.

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 23:39:56

But in theory Sparkyl, given that such a system works in Scotland, would you object to being part of such a system here?

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