to think that closing schools actually isn't necessary at all?

(221 Posts)
manicinsomniac Mon 21-Jan-13 11:12:46

I fully accept that I might be and I have several pros and cons in my head. Just interested in others' opinions.

Where I live we have had a lot of snow. Not all roads are clear. The school is in a rural area. 50% of staff and 80% of children live between 10 and 60 minutes drive away. We are open (due to our 20% of boarders) and only 2 staff members and 14 children (out of about 40 staff and 350 children) are absent.

The children were under no compulsion to attend (email just said come if safe) but they have made it so AIBU to think that closing for almost all other schools should not have been necessary?

Cons (reasons I think I might be BU):
*we don't very often get snow like this so maybe the children are gaining more by being at home and getting the chance to play in it.
* if all schools opened then the journeys might have been harder than they were and maybe it wouldn't be possible to get in (ie maybe it was only ok for us because the roads were quieter)
* For staff who are nervous drivers there is an awful lot of judgement
* The children who don't make it in are getting behind through no fault of their own.

Pros (reasons I think I am not BU):
* the children continue to get their education
* the children are with their friends and have all the grounds to play in all together (we have an organised snow fight and a sculpture competition today for eg)
*'community spirit and British reslilience' and all that jazz!

TuesdayNightDateNight Mon 21-Jan-13 14:19:39

Seeing as its a well known fact that the catchment area for our school is under 600 metres, there is no way any child should struggle to get in other than those who played the system and actually live miles away

However most of the teachers live outside the city so it's not surprising that they closed on Friday. Open today though!

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 21-Jan-13 14:21:28

There are many things a parent can do to educate their dc whilst their school is closed.

Not from my desk there aren't! However, we do those things as a normal side-effect of talking about snow, looking up the forecast together, etc. . As with every opportunity that presents itself. It doesn't take me losing a day's mortgage-paying income to do that!

recall Mon 21-Jan-13 14:26:49

I wouldn't let my kids sit in a freezing cold school because the heating wasn't working, just so that the Headmistress felt good about herself - she could fekk off with her no nonsense attitude, sounds like a bit of a twat to me.

SugarplumMary Mon 21-Jan-13 14:28:16

FryOneFatManic -
And we had messages repeating the advice not to travel unnecessarily

we don't drive - so he wasn't on the roads endangering anyone. Not everyone does you know hmm.

He spoke to his colleagues and was expected in and local conditions aren’t to bad as they improved over weekend the are had the worst Friday - the university is open he is standing in front of students who expect someone to be there to teach them.

We don't drive - he walked to the train station yesterday before the heavy snow storm last night with bag for week as he does every week term time got on a train - then on a replacement bus, then train then walked to his accommodation. He wore appropriate clothing.

He made a judgment call - got information about travel and decide it was safe to do so for him. Just as my DC head master decided it wasn't safe for the school to open. My point to previous poster was despite him being safe to travel doesn’t mean it safe for the local school to open hmm.

He walked in this morning – his digs are further out than the student’s accommodation or most of his colleague’s houses. The roads are clear and the advice in that area isn’t that people can’t travel.

That won’t stop some students and one collage as an excuse not to bother - they have form and they will use the snow as an excuse.

DeafLeopard Mon 21-Jan-13 14:28:47

Supposedly 20% of cars on the road in rush hour are on the school run. So if schools close that is a big chunk of traffic not there.

Means the roads are clearer for essential workers who have to get to work....assuming that they are not at home looking after their DCs whose schools are closed that is.

When I say have to get to work I mean hospital staff / care workers / emergency services etc not people with the "lunch is for wimps" type attitude that you have to get to work come hell or high water.

MaureenShit Mon 21-Jan-13 14:29:00

a lot of schools shut because they have shit campuses

PLUS if the attendance % is low it reflects badly on OFSTED

RooneyMara Mon 21-Jan-13 14:30:46

I'm really sorry for those who are nervous drivers and under pressure to get to work.

It's not just about being nervous. I'm a confident every day driver and we nearly got killed on saturday when our brakes failed in a tiny bit of slush.

Just not always worth the risk iyswim

Lynned Mon 21-Jan-13 14:36:08

Hmm, we live in a london Borough, all the roads are gritted, buses are running, and still our secondary school is closed. ( I know that the head only lives 1.5 miles away.) i am a SAHM so have no childcare issues. They also closed at 12 on Friday citing that the buse had stopped running ( several
passed us at 11.30pm as we left the pub!). In his email the head said it was for the students safety. My two are out sledging ( where would they be safer, in lessons, our hurtling down a slope?)

MaryPoppinsBag Mon 21-Jan-13 14:36:56

For many people though it isn't about being a martyr, it is about having to turn up to work because if you don't you don't get paid.
And for some families that means not being able to pay for food/ fuel / mortgage.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Mon 21-Jan-13 14:38:21

It's lovely that your school has been able to remain open, OP.

It has nothing to do with the fact that, for all sorts of reasons, some headteachers have had to take the decision not to open.

For anyone posting about how schools in 1947 stayed open, why not picture the AIBU today, along the lines of 'DS's classroom was only 9 degrees today, only source of heat was open fire in front of which their balaclavas were all hung to dry, WIBU to say something?' We have people on here complaining that nobody put the wellies they didn't send to school on their child at playtime, resulting in fever and ague! Many things were different in the past, and it's no use using it as a yardstick for now.

perfectstorm Mon 21-Jan-13 14:39:08

You could see the ground through the snow where I live. The preschool was open no problem at all. It is next door to a school which closed.

Go figure, as they say in the States. Schools did not close for light snow when I was a kid. Not once, actually. And I remember the odd very heavy fall, too - 1986 springs to mind particularly.

perfectstorm Mon 21-Jan-13 14:41:00

Incidentally if there are heating issues (one local school closed as pipes burst) that's obviously a genuine reason. Similarly, snow so deep the roads are impassable for teachers who aren't very close. But where grass pokes out of the snow, and under trees there is naked concrete? Seriously, all schools closing? Why?

Our schools rarely close. This is the first time DD's secondary has closed in the 18 months she's been there. And DS's school has only been closed a couple of times. Most schools will try to stay open if at all possible, around here, certainly.

outtolunchagain Mon 21-Jan-13 14:42:57

I think it's about judgement, obviously there are some circumstances where it would be fool hardy to travel . Ds2 's school is open today but it is a small specialist one in a very rural location , 3 miles off a B road in a non gritted location . We have not attempted it .

Ds3 however is a school, he is 5 miles away . We are in a village and the roads were a bit hair raising but I took it steadily . I passed two houses both on more main routes than my house where the children are staying at home because the weather is too bad. One of these mothers has just been seen at Tescos ( not that bad then)

I do think it can be easier for independent schools; staff ratios tend to be high and therefore they can Coe with a few people being off and also the ground staff are all out gritting the paths and roads etc.

Our schools open but an hour later, and shutting an hour early, the issue with ours is just the teachers travelling as it only has children from the estate its at the centre off so anyone can do the 5min maximum walk, but most of the morons drive as its cold <bangs head on wall> and the closed the nursery. Tbh I'm very grateful they're open

milf90 Mon 21-Jan-13 14:47:26

I thought it was a bit OTT until we actually tried to walk to the end of the road today. The pavements are very dangerous - either very deep in snow and icey or just plain icey. We couldn't walk down the pavements actually because the pushchair couldnt get through all the snow, so we ended up walking down the side of the road (Very unsafe in these conditions i know, but the road was very quiet) and it was the same on the road. compacted snow and very icey.

My OH ended up going back to get his car, to find himself horizontal along the road and having to rock his car to get it to move.

at the end of the day i would rather not risk the children's safety and they miss a few days of school, tbh.

you cant really say "well in 1969 i never missed a day of school" etc. because it IS different now. more cars on the road, more built up areas, going to school further away not within walking distance etc. also we dont have any statistic if that was detrimental in anyway? were people injured? was there heating? was the school understaffed? etc.

wordfactory Mon 21-Jan-13 14:51:57

lecce I don't think the HTs who simply shut down are necessarily to be commended for thinking of their staff.

If that were the case then why aren't hospitals closing down? Or police stations? Or children's homes? Surely all those staff need to be kept safe? Or are teachers more fragile?

A good HT should at least try to stay open. And he/she should trust his teachers sufficiently to say they should come to work as normal if possible but that no one should do anyhting daft...just like the rest of the working population! If teachers are incapable of making these decisions then frankly they shouldn't be teaching children!

orangeandlemons Mon 21-Jan-13 14:52:03

I teach in a large secondary. One of the main reasons for closing is the amount of water traipsed into a school which then turns it into an ice rink. There are about 2200 staff and students in my school. All with wet feet. Multiply that by the amount of lesson changes/ breaks / dinner and whatever, and the school is soon like a paddling pool. It then becomes dangerous to walk on the millions of stairs and corridors. There are only. 2 on site caretakers and no on site cleaners so the floor soon becomes really dangerous.

wordfactory Mon 21-Jan-13 14:56:09

But isn't that the same when it rains oranges?

orangeandlemons Mon 21-Jan-13 14:58:21

No, they don't get as wet. Definitely not. Snow sticks to shoes and that is what makes it so wet. It was awful the other day, and it never gets like that in rain. Have just realised that's over 4000 feet every day walking round. Am quite staggered by that...

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 21-Jan-13 14:58:21

Orangeandlemons: Buy big doormats?

Honestly. 1,800 pupils lose a day's education, many students will be out and about unsupervised and causing trouble, Yr 7 parents work disrupted, paid-for individual music lessons wasted, and all for the sake of sensible matting inside the doors?

orangeandlemons Mon 21-Jan-13 15:00:00

Lol at doormats. We have those, but they never ever wipe their feet. The doormats we have usually suffice, but when it is really snowy they get really wet too

trice Mon 21-Jan-13 15:01:43

I work at a fe college. All the office staff were there and working. All the apprentices who need to finish their courses before they move up a pay grade were in. Most of the lecturers were taking a snow day.

I think it is all about attitude and priorities.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 21-Jan-13 15:14:18

Carling

I don't see your point, sorry. If you mean that you can't educate your dc whilst at work, I realise this. Not everybody works though, obviously.
I was responding to the assumption that children need to be in school to gain an education and that by closing a school children would get behind, which clearly isn't the case.

elastamum Mon 21-Jan-13 15:29:29

Both my DC are in school and we have lots of snow. It is a rural private school with some boarders and is always open. I cant remember it ever shutting for snow.

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