Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

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?

Bogeyface Sun 20-Jan-13 23:40:09

Sparkly even!

Velcropoodle Sun 20-Jan-13 23:44:21

I think it must be very difficult actually making the decision, and I'm sure that they do try and weigh up everything..

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Sun 20-Jan-13 23:58:24

I have been discussing this within the current (lack of) system.

I would think for such a system to be viable - yes an opt in system could work, but only if there were enough teachers and schools signed up to it within a wide enough area. Increasingly, schools are no longer all under LEA control, so that would have to be negotiated somehow - each school has it's own systems and rules. Data protection, Child Protection and Health and Safety laws would have to be altered and reviewed significantly - schools are obsessed with the minutiae of one act, one visitor etc - to go from this to something that operated across widely differing schools with no shared ethos or overarching governmental control - that was legally watertight and guaranteed child protection and sensitive data would not be compromised - if these conditions were met. The idea that some schools could partially open, as opposed to none, then in theory.

I suppose it still comes back to certain questions: How does the head guarantee that there is going to be enough teachers from other schools in the narrow window of time before parents need to be notified? How do they know if the children will make it in, to make that call necessary? If enough children are able to get in anyway to make that decision necessary, then their original teachers should be able to get in.

Another example - in my previous school we had a year nine child who could not be approached by any unknown male. She had scars from her father abusing her on her face. I knew, as her tutor, the head of year knew, and selected others - but it was not even a school wide thing. He was not allowed near her. Then the school opens on the principle that strangers (CRB'd yes, but they don't know the site or the children) are coming into teach. That situation could go wrong in several ways - a member of staff not knowing who to challenge, or the father being able to take advantage of the situation somehow. So does that information then get spread around all the schools? Or passed on somehow on the day? My point is we are so tight on this sort of stuff at the moment, any change to that sort of system would be a huge challenge of mentality, as well as logistics. Each school is an island, at the moment, and increasingly so.

Bogeyface Mon 21-Jan-13 00:22:16

I am struggling to get past the issues of that poor little girl sad

But do see why you feel that it wouldnt be workable. There is always one reason why it could fail and that one reason is usually a big enough reason to not risk it, as in this poor girls case.

happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 00:30:32

Last time it snowed badly school remained open apart from one day, head said on the other days she expected all pupils in and those who didn't would get unauthorised absence Mark as in her words "it wasn't that bad" For three days I -- stupidly-- tracked 2.36 miles in snow and ice with dd and fell twice. I don't drive and it wasn't on a bus route early morning.

Dd was one of five in her class that week, all were children furthest away from school. Those in next streets had stayed home.

Head announced on the Friday that all those who had not made it cause of snow would still get a Mark and not lose their 100% attendance.
I was most pissed off and now any doubt I stay home!

ravenAK Mon 21-Jan-13 00:42:52

Actually, Bogeyface, I teach in a small-to-middling secondary school & know of two students who couldn't be in a situation with 'strange' teachers coming in to teach. That's on a 'need to know' basis, so there may be others.

I'd happily wander along to my nearest school (2 primaries in easy walking distance; the dcs school is a bit of a schlep but I could take them in & volunteer myself. No secondaries I could get to by opening time assuming I have to walk my own dc in).

However, it just seems a bit pointless from an educational POV. I can set relevant, useful work for my own students online & respond to their queries - much more efficient than me doing crowd control for 30 strange children whilst someone attempts to do likewise for mine. It'd inevitably end up, at best, with generic tasks of limited educational value.

So what we're really talking about here is avoiding any interruption to the service of childcare for working parents, isn't it?

I'm not saying that isn't a laudable aim - it's a complete PITA when my dc are off & I'm not, for whatever reason - but possibly not a good enough one to justify the attendant travel risks & cluttering up the roads when genuinely necessary journeys need to be happening.

sashh Mon 21-Jan-13 05:33:21

Local authorities should issue all school staff with a photo ID pass (and agencies should do the same for supply teachers) and then staff that are CRB checked by county could go to work in their local school and have their ID verified.

I have just started at a new college, on day two I wore the wrong ID all day. I only noticed when I took it off to go home, no one else, including the security staff noticed.

I too want to know if I'm due in today, I have to set off at 7.30 ish, the website just says they are hoping to open.

Kafri Mon 21-Jan-13 05:52:20

If the snow is severe enough then I think the decision can be made the night before. If its feasible to get in the night before but a risk of more overnight then it needs to be a morning decision.

Loads of people have put on FB tonight about not knowing whether their kids school is open tomorrow. Well, in my area the snow is hardly bad. The small side streets still have a bit but all the roads are clear. We've had it much worse here and still had schools open.
I'm AWFUL for driving in snow, a total wimp (I admit it). I absolutely hate it and do not do it at all if its bad. I either walk or stay in and even I have been out in the car in it. That's how mild it is where I am.

Coconutty Mon 21-Jan-13 08:00:37

we were told at 7pm last night and I think that was very helpful,much better than this morning.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 08:02:47

Our school is open and I am REAL glad as DS is being a miserable little wotsit. The school are welcome to him this morning quite frankly....snow or no snow.

Bogeyface Mon 21-Jan-13 08:29:18

Due at school in 20 minutes, just found out that it is closed despite it being blindingly obvious at 6:30am that it wouldnt be accesible by locals never mind teachers from out of the area!

cricketballs Mon 21-Jan-13 08:49:29

I was nearly at school when the message came through....took an hour longer than normal (I did expect that so set off really early) and the roads are horrendous; so glad my head has finally made a sensible, timely decision

snowingeverywhere Mon 21-Jan-13 09:00:10

We are very lucky at our school, KHS in Epsom, the Head is very decisive and organised and informs the night before, How hard can it be?

SuffolkNWhat Mon 21-Jan-13 09:04:34

Nursery shut, took 20 minutes to do 1 mile and saw 3 accidents in that time. Scary conditions out there. All our local schools are shut.

JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 09:09:09

Gah! We have had a text sayi g school is open but side roads inaccessible.....how in the hell are we meant to drop 400+ children off? Am not in walking distance either so have to drive.
Then again the radio has in error listed the school as closed...head teacher says it isn't and radio is incorrect but might plead ignorance.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 21-Jan-13 09:15:00

If you'd have asked me last night is have said of course school should be open its fine.

Who's up this morning- school us open and dh managed to make or into work to his school but the snow is much worse than I expected. It would be foolhardy for me to drive the kids 7 miles. My bias rang at 7.15am and said he was closing the office do I've kept them at home.

gazzalw Mon 21-Jan-13 09:18:26

DS's school notified us yesterday evening and school website updated too. On the other hand DD's primary school hasn't knowingly sent any communication and only knew the school was open because we used a London-wide schools website we'd been alerted to by DS's school....

ihearsounds Mon 21-Jan-13 09:42:11

Going to a local school to work isnt always practical.
I work in special needs. We hire no agency at all. All cover is done within the school. One of the main reasons is because the needs of our pupils are very complexed. Another reason is the training we have to go through to help our students. With a bunch of randoms, the care of our students, never mind the education, would be severly comprimsed. Randoms wont know how to do pc, which sling to use, the positioning when put back into chairs, who is able to eat and what, how to feed the students, who has brittle bones, who has seizures... Never mind those that on the at risk register, their details and how it is dealt with in school is on a need to know.
we have a handful of staff that are within walking distance, and we could not safely oversee randoms.

marriedinwhite Mon 21-Jan-13 09:53:45

Reading through this thread - perhaps the reason schools didn't close when I was a lass and that sometimes it was OK for two classes to be combined because Mrs Bloggs really did get snowed in, was because in the 1960s and 1970s there weren't children with complex needs in mainstream schools and there were fewer children on at risk registers because children's homes were still the norm. Different world altogether. Still have some qualms though that we are allowing our dc to grow up with less backbone than was the case a few generations ago.

RustyBear Mon 21-Jan-13 10:12:33

Not that this will help this winter, but in March, CRB checks are being replaced by the Disclosure and Barring Service. From our Governors' information digest "Once [this] check has been conducted, the results will be available online to enable employers to confirm that no new information has been added since the check was originally made. This means that an employee will not have to obtain a new check each time he or she starts a new job." Though, as yet, although this change is less than two months away, schools haven't yet been told exactly how it's going to work.

Though, having said that, I agree with several other posters that there are practical reasons why this may not be appropriate - our school, for example, has an ASD resource, and having a lot of random strangers in the school would only make an already difficult day far worse for many of our pupils.

Happy like you, I don't have a car and it is a 30 minute walk for us to the school in the snow as DS1 is 4YO and DS2 is in a pram. Last Wednesday, at 8:15 (the time we leave the house) the school website and phone message said they were open. We struggled up to the school and then a volunteer met those of us that walked to tell us that at 8:35 they decided to close. Thursday was a bit better, it was open. Friday was the same as Wednesday, for snow, they were closed. Anyway, this morning there is double the amount of snow we had last Wednesday and they are open! I can't get my pram through the snow and I have nobody who can help look after DS2 (6 months) so we have stayed at home.

FariesDoExist Mon 21-Jan-13 11:07:57

I don't know what the solution is. What marriedinwhite says is very interesting. We are so much more cautious about everything these days.

However on BBC news right now - Caerphilly, Wales a school bus with 20 pupils on board has slipped down an embankment, the road has been closed to recover the bus.

It says nobody has been injured, thank goodness.

happynewmind Mon 21-Jan-13 11:20:14

One of our local schools announced at 8.59am that the school was closed. went down REALLLYYYY well.

Bogeyface Mon 21-Jan-13 11:23:54

There's no excuse for that Happy they must have known much sooner if staff couldnt get in!

ReallyTired Mon 21-Jan-13 11:31:54

I feel the police should make the decision about school closures rather than individual heads. Heads get it in the neck if they open the school, but they also get complained at if the school is shut.

If the local police made decisions then at least there would be some consistancy.

If its boarderline whether the roads are driveable then keeping the school run off the road makes it easier for those who have to get to work. However finding childcare is a nightmare on a snow day.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now