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 Fri 25-Jan-13 17:19:33

Hulababy We had that problem this week too - rural area so many children not in. It's pointless sticking to the planned lessons as you spend the rest of the term playing catch-up with the children who were off.

Hulababy Fri 25-Jan-13 17:15:32

The trouble is though when you have just half a class in. You can't teacher the normal lesson plan really as half the children are missing it, so it would then need to be repeated when they were back. Or if classes are mixed - because then again you can't follow the normal plans.

We had two Y2 classes mixed, half from each came in. We had to go off timetable otherwise it would have been a real pain later in the week. We are y2 so just kept to topical stuff, along with snow work too. So our topic is space so we did additional space related work - some ICT - space research and report writing, some space craft, a space quiz and then also some creative writing about snow/ice - and then some extra outdoor snow play too, and an impromptu singing lesson. We also figured that those who chose to stay home were probably having fun in the sun all day too, so seemed fair to have ours outside to make snowmen and a quick snowball fight. I think at the end of the day we also showed a video - though was an iplayer one from stargazing type program.

ReallyTired Thu 24-Jan-13 21:49:33

"staff who are local come so it remains open for working parents and the kids watch DVDs etc"

Schools are there to provide education and are not childcare facility. The eduation of ALL children is important whether the parents work or not.

Prehaps we need to get long term benefit claiments to clear snow in schools and hospitals.

Euphemia Wed 23-Jan-13 07:09:29

staff who are local come so it remains open for working parents and the kids watch DVDs etc

That's what happens in Scotland, but we teach the children, not babysit them.

Cerisepink Wed 23-Jan-13 00:53:53

http://www.education.gov.uk/a0064221/length-of-school-dayyear

Just found this on the Dept of Education's website.

Seems by law schools are required to make up lost teaching time to ensure pupils receive the 190 days or 380 sessions each academic year. This is also the number of days teachers are contracted to teach plus the 5 days for the ubiquitous Inset.

Perhaps as we'll as teaching our children life lessons in resilience, our children could be taught it's right and proper to uphold the law?

Somebody at DS2's school told me today that they are only going to shut if there is at least an amber weather warning so they can make the decision the night before based on what the Met Office are saying. That is fine but weather has a funny habit of not reading the forecasts and doing its own thing so even that isn't foolproof. You could decide to shut the school the night before only to find that everything is passable the next morning. It could also work the other way and you could get an unexpectedly heavy fall of snow which catches everybody out which happened in our town in December 2009 (thankfully it was the first day of the school hols so school not an issue). Then the only shut for an amber warning thing is too late.

I wouldn't want to be a head teacher making that decision. Must be doubly hard if you don't even live in the town where you work like the 2 heads of our local infants and juniors. How can you know what the roads are like in another town? Weather can vary so much over even 15 or so miles. I wouldn't criticise a HT whatever they decide. Short of giving them a crystal ball I think they just have to guess like the rest of us.

mumzy Tue 22-Jan-13 18:11:52

Dcs school was closed yesterday so had no alternative but to stay at home with them taking it as annual leave. As a result I had to cancel my clinics which offer a specialist service and have a long waiting list. The knock on effects of schools closing are huge I work for NHS and we are expected to come in whatever the weather or take it as annual leave. I suggest schools have a contingency whereby staff who are local come so it remains open for working parents and the kids watch DVDs etc. Parents who want to keep their dcs off for the snow period can do so reducing the burden for the school.

duchesse Tue 22-Jan-13 15:13:50

Dear goodness, what we need is some common sense in the face of snow, not to shut bleddy schools! If this pattern of snowy winters continues I hope to god that people will start to take responsibility and help clear pavements, steps etc. You can't not go to school because there's snow- what if it's there all winter? Keep children and everybody off work and school all winter? Of course not. If Canadian schools and businesses can manage to stay open in -30C or lower there's no earthly reason why we can't. It's a question of wanting to. I suspect that in the UK it makes little financial sense (at the moment) to make elaborate contingency plans for snow as we don't have it often enough and it's cheaper to just let it melt two days later.

We just collectively need to get into the habit of dealing with snow so that life as we know it doesn't just grind to a halt at the first flake. All collectivities ought to have a snow plan, including schools, employers and LAs. This would avoid utter chaos like this.

tonyhalpin Tue 22-Jan-13 13:18:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

torychicetc Tue 22-Jan-13 12:47:00

PENQIN well, the weather is random. I would not want to be a Head making those decisions. 50 years ago? many fewer cars. and mums stayed at home.

girliefriend Mon 21-Jan-13 20:51:08

My dds school opened on friday even though it was a blizzard conditions and they had signs up all over the school on Thursday saying they would shut if it snowed confused

It is totally random!! Although dd had a lovely day on Friday as only about 7 kids in her class turned up and in dds words they 'played all day!!'

Hulababy Mon 21-Jan-13 19:05:46

My school was open as normal today, not even a later start.
Had about 16/17 children in per class - just over half.

I was snowed in car wise. Even DH's car, which is 4WD but a normal sized car, couldn't get out. No buses running at all for us. So we walked - about 4 miles for me and DD (who's own school was also open though it was parents decision to go in or not entirely) and 5 miles for DH. Took about 1.5-2 hours in the snow as pretty deep in places and slippery.

For hometime apparently our buses were running again though I didn't see any on our route, neither did Dh who came home a couple of hours after me. After I'd walked the mile up to DD's school one of her friend's parents took pity on us and drove us home in their big 4x4 smile

However - I am now suffering. I have arthritis and it had been playing up last week as it was. Even despite extra meds this morning and at lunch my knee is now swollen and stiff and my hands/knee are really sore. Hoping they'll go down before the morning as no way I can get my car out again - Dh will be able too so I will only have a mile to walk, but it'll be tough going with a non flexible knee!

dangly131 Mon 21-Jan-13 19:01:21

nevermore - the child did not sprain her ankle, she died! Sometimes you don't get up from the odd 'knock back' and in this case she didn't!

ravenAK Mon 21-Jan-13 18:55:44

In fact, my idea, which I seem to recall posting on an identical thread last year, would be:

Volunteers with CRB (retired or part time teachers, & any who know that their own &/or their dc's school is highly likely to close in the event of snow, for instance) register well ahead of time at their local designated snow day childcare facility - could be a church hall, community centre or even a school.

The centre advertises itself on t'internets & WOH parents of local children register for a place.

Once it snows & schools close, kids are taken on foot, by their parents, to the centre where they are supervised by the volunteers in a 1:10 ratio. No pretence of teaching, although there would be a quiet area for homework/revision/reading. Instead, there would be a choice of games or watching videos, etc.

Parents who are just users of the centre pay a reasonable hourly fee which goes to cover the overheads. Volunteers get free childcare for their own dc/gdc (cover a half day, leave your own dc for the other half?). Or just the satisfaction of having a cast iron riposte to being called a workshy skiver in the case of serving teachers...

ravenAK Mon 21-Jan-13 18:33:39

...or you could argue that if you take the school run off the roads, you reduce the number of accidents requiring attendance by the emergency services, besides considerably reducing rush hour congestion so it's easier for those vital staff to actually make it in?

I'm all for local childcare solutions & would happily volunteer to help staff one, but it'd almost certainly be better for just about everyone if school children were walking to them, & only where parents aren't able & willing to be at home with them.

nevermore Mon 21-Jan-13 18:28:02

This may have been mentioned before but the knock on effect of schools closing is that some parents who work in the emergency services will be unable to go to work. This impacts on those who need help most. Hospitals don't close to the most vulnerable in case they slip over on their way in. Why then should perfectly healthy 8 year olds be cossetted at home in case of a sprained ankle rather than risk an icy playground? School is about more than phonics, it's a bit about getting things done despite the odd knockback.

dangly131 Mon 21-Jan-13 15:49:57
JakeBullet Mon 21-Jan-13 15:19:58

I bumped into one of DS's teachers yesterday and said hopefully "snow day tomorrow"? Se just said she hoped not as so many parents complain. It's down to the Head though, our head decided to open the school but a bit later than usual. So everyone went in at 10:30.

TenthMuse Mon 21-Jan-13 15:19:04

As others have already said, heads really are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. I'm a teacher, and my instinct would be that schools should remain open if at all possible - I know how much of an inconvenience a sudden closure is for many parents. However, the situation with 'Snow Days' is far more complex than many people seem to assume, and every school is different.

In my experience, for every parent that complains that schools should be open because they can't find childcare/workshy teachers 'just fancied a day off'/'it wasn't like this in their day', there will be another, equally vocal, parent complaining that the school should remain closed because the playground is too icy/travelling in is too dangerous/the children might get stranded at school/little Jimmy can't possibly go outside in this weather.

The last school I taught at had a very 'old-school' head, whose mantra was that the school should remain open at all costs. We were pretty much the only school to stay open in our borough (I'm in North London). On these occasions, half of the kids wouldn't turn up because their parents wanted them to 'make the most of the snow', and many of those who did come in arrived without gloves, wellies and sometimes even coats. Some parents would stipulate that they wanted their child to remain indoors all day as it was supposedly 'too dangerous' for them to play outside. (Obviously some lucky staff members got to miss their break/lunch in order to supervise these children.)

And it isn't only about whether the children and teachers can get to school safely; one one occasion my school did open, but was forced to close down shortly afterwards because the council announced at short notice that they couldn't provide any school lunches. Another time we opened and then had to close at lunchtime because the heating broke down, which made things even more difficult for parents who then had to leave work to collect their children.

Even if the current CRB system were drastically overhauled, the idea of teachers turning up at their local school on snowy days sounds completely unworkable (unless we accept that on these occasions teachers are merely glorified childcare). As others have mentioned, every school these days has children with complex needs, something which is fine if one teacher is unfamiliar with the school, but absolutely not fine if the entire teaching staff has just turned up for one day. And (having worked as a supply teacher) children's behaviour towards unfamiliar teachers can be testing at the best of times, let alone if they're completely overexcited because of the snow

Having said that, I do realise how frustrating it can be when a headteacher fails to make a clear decision. I once worked at a rural school and our head spent so long faffing about that I was skidding driving down the road through a virtual blizzard before the call came through to say we were shut. It subsequently turned out that, while all the other staff had been struggling into work (some had already arrived at school and become stranded), our lovely Head was sat at home in his dressing gown with a nice cup of tea!

The answer is obviously clear, decisive action by the head teacher, preferably the night before, and with each school making the decision based on its own circumstances, rather than copying each other as often seems to be the case.

TenthMuse Mon 21-Jan-13 15:16:45

As several others have already said, heads really are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. I'm a teacher, and my instinct would be that schools should remain open if at all possible - a know how much of an inconvenience a sudden closure is for many parents. However, the situation with 'Snow Days' is far more complex than many people seem to assume, and every school is different.

In my experience, for every parent that complains that schools should be open because they can't find childcare/workshy teachers 'just fancied a day off'/'it wasn't like this in their day', there will be another, equally vocal, parent complaining that the school should remain closed because the playground is too icy/travelling in is too dangerous/the children might get stranded at school/little Jimmy can't possibly go outside in this weather.

The last school I taught at had a very 'old-school' head, whose mantra was that the school should remain open at all costs. We were pretty much the only school to stay open in our borough (I'm in North London). On these occasions, half of the kids wouldn't turn up because their parents wanted them to 'make the most of the snow', and many of those who did come in arrived without gloves, wellies and sometimes even coats. Some parents would stipulate that they wanted their child to remain indoors all day as it was supposedly 'too dangerous' for them to play outside. (Obviously some lucky staff members got to miss their break/lunch in order to supervise these children.)

And it isn't only about whether the children and teachers can get to school safely; one one occasion my school did open, but was forced to close down shortly afterwards because the council announced at short notice that they couldn't provide any school lunches. Another time we opened and then had to close at lunchtime because the heating broke down, which made things even more difficult for parents who then had to leave work to collect their children.

Even if the current CRB system were drastically overhauled, the idea of teachers turning up at their local school on snowy days sounds completely unworkable (unless we accept that on these occasions teachers are merely glorified childcare). As others have mentioned, every school these days has children with complex needs, something which is fine if one teacher is unfamiliar with the school, but absolutely not fine if the entire teaching staff has just turned up for one day. And (having worked as a supply teacher) children's behaviour towards unfamiliar teachers can be testing at the best of times, let alone if they're

Having said that, I do realise how frustrating it can be when a headteacher fails to make a clear decision. I once worked at a rural school and our head spent so long faffing about that I was skidding driving down the road through a virtual blizzard before the call came through to say we were shut. It subsequently turned out that, while all the other staff had been struggling into work (some had already arrived at school and become stranded), our lovely Head was sat at home in his dressing gown with a nice cup of tea!

The answer is obviously clear, decisive action by the head teacher, preferably the night before, and with each school making the decision based on its own circumstances, rather than copying each other as often seems to be the case.

hoodoo12345 Mon 21-Jan-13 14:40:18

My dc's primary and secondary schools are open, but EVERY other school in the area is shut, all of them.
Random.

Wellthen Mon 21-Jan-13 14:12:04

Completely agree. No teacher has ever had children, or a job that isnt teaching or a partner who doesnt teach. And if they did have children, they dont go to different schools so they would never have a situation where their children have a snow day and they don't or vice versa.

Head teachers have NO IDEA how much disruption they cause. Its not like moaning parents are all over the news/twitter/facebook. It isnt even as if driving to work when it is actually snowing is dangerous or anything. And opening the school for a handful of pissed off and ungrateful kids and equally pissed off staff struggling to find their own childcare - that is definitely not fucking annoying.

hmm

CremeEggThief Mon 21-Jan-13 13:55:06

Not impressed to get a text at 8.40 to say school was shut (apparently, the heating had stopped working), by which stage we were already on a bus, battling through blizzard conditions. It hasn't stopped all day and it's at least four inches deep. The school has promised to let us know by 7.15 a.m. tomorrow, so I hopevthey stick to it.

mam29 Mon 21-Jan-13 13:39:39

Well friday dd2s preschool and attached primary just 10mins from my house was shut announced 1st.

The community primary 5mins walk from me shut

Then a few other local schools said they were shut in my suburb and nearby.

But community school same distance as preschool was open.

My dd1 school -small village school remained open.

But it was heavy snow
had no car
and was 1.2miles walk with 2 toddlers rang up and said I appreciate them being open I dont think I can make it through, tehy understood wasent unauthorised 50%turned up but impressed they were open.

Also dds 2 preschool dd used to go attached primary and know all teachers ere very local so baffled why they were shut.

Its very weird as what we had was 4schools within same area opened and rest shut dident make sense,

Alll the senior schools shut.

But today was sleeety and icey we walked in roads ok pavements not great. but no snow today possibly more forcast tonight but thinking unless blizzard then dd school will try and remain open and i will do my best to get her there.

RabidCarrot Mon 21-Jan-13 13:39:00

DSs school opened today but it would have been madness to try and send them in so both home.

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