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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 England 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.

cuppateaanyone Fri 18-Jan-13 18:21:38

Yanbu. Lack of common sense and disregard for welfare.

Redhelen, you didn't rely on the bbc did you? Wasn't due to hit your area until this evening. (How's it looking now?)

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 18:27:26

Exams can't be rescheduled because some pupils in schools that are open will have taken them. Most schools that were shut today were open for exam candidates. If it wasn't done today it will have to be done in the summer, with the pressure of all of the other exams then and of course rendering all of the revision useless. January modules are gone after this year so it will be a lot easier to make these decisions then.

Our school had to shut at 12:30 because the bus company would not run buses after this point. Those with an afternoon exam had to stay and make alternative arrangements to get home. The two deputy heads are still at school now with a student that hasn't been collected yet.

RedHelenB Fri 18-Jan-13 18:52:38

It is snowing but my point is that on all weather forecasts it has shown as heavy snow at sometimes when it wasn't. It changes constantly!

HoneyStepMummy Fri 18-Jan-13 18:55:40

YANBU! The school is being very irresponsible. I no longer live in the UK and we sometimes get bad snowstorms where I am. Other winters we get no snow. I feel like the UK actually gets more snow than we do. The schools all have a snow plan in place. They tend to error on the side of caution. I feel really sorry for all those stranded teenagers. How on earth are they going to get home? Glad your son's OK.

Rosevase Fri 18-Jan-13 19:01:12

But where were your priorities first thing this morning? An A/AS level examination that presumably your son has spent the previous month at least preparing and revising for, and ought to have been foremost in all your minds over the recent holidays... IMO this takes priority over younger children getting to school. The summer will be a lot more intense and it seems such a shame if people just shrug and say soneone can just retake it then if a student is mentally ready and prepared to take it now.
YWVU this morning if the snow was that bad to expect your son just to cope on his own with the bus/lifts/his exam/getting home again. I'd have got up early and planned the rest of what was a mad day weather wise around the child doing the exam.
Lots of children will have managed to take their exams today.

I think the school was irresponsible, yes. But can I just ask- do schools seriously shut for a few inches of snow? We usually get a few feet of snow and our school stays open. Should our policy change?

cardibach Fri 18-Jan-13 19:07:27

DD stayed at a friends house last night to make sure she could get in for her AS paper this morning as our house is down a very steep and narrow lane. It is not possible to rearrange these exams and the school are right, it would register as a fail if you were not there I agree with Rosevase, his exam should have been your priority this morning.
THe school are only BU if they didn;t let students who were there take the exam. THat is inexcusable.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 18-Jan-13 19:07:41

The email that came from my ds's school said that the exam board would not accept bad weather as a reason for not sitting the exam, so it's not fair to blame the school. Presumably they just didn't want your ds to fail part of his qualification.

I might have been the exam board that changed their mind, not the school.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 19:12:30

You can't blame the school for the exam.

the rest is just that schools can't win in these situations.

YABU

KFC, sadly the issue is the roads. We had about 14cm of snow in the end, but it has affected the roads badly. Partly I think because they operate near capacity and therefore it doesn't take much to grid lock them. Of course once the traffic really slows down then not only do the council find it harder to grit them, but also the snow clearance becomes less effective. Cars don't have snow tyres in general so they aren't helping themselves.

Round here by early afternoon the roads were completely jammed in places. If everyone had gone home at once it would have been much worse.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 19:36:10

As others have said, the exam takes place regardless. If your opinion is that your DS should take it in the summer instead owing to the weather, then that is your call I suppose, but if the schools made that decision for students on the morning of the exam, it would be overstepping by quite some margin.

Myliferocks Fri 18-Jan-13 19:36:33

My DD sat one of her AS level exam today. Anybody who couldn't get in have been told that they can take it at the end of the school year.

teacherandguideleader Fri 18-Jan-13 19:40:00

I do feel for schools as it is hard to make the decision and whatever decision is made will have people criticising.

My school made the decision to stay open today but it became a nightmare as parents started turning up left, right and centre to collect their little darlings (this is secondary).

I was told to go home due to my journey (I didn't ask since I choose to live and work where I do). On my way out, I was accosted by an irate parent who thought it was outrageous we hadn't shut as she needed to get her DC home.

If we had have closed through the day, I am sure we would have had complaints from parents that they couldn't get home from work to collect them.

On the topic of exams, with AS and A2 modules it is often possible to re-take in June since there are exam sessions running those particular exams. This may not be the case with all exams - January may be their only slot.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 19:42:20

But if they retake in June they will be having to revise a lot more at once.

catkind Fri 18-Jan-13 19:52:04

YANBU at all. I was with them up to the point when they changed tack and cancelled the exam after insisting people get in.

YouOldSlag Fri 18-Jan-13 19:57:53

*the exam board would not accept bad weather as a reason for not sitting the exam*- this is a ridiculous rule. They will end up failing people that can't help their circumstances!

The problem is with the UK is that everytime it snows, it's as if it's a massive shock and it's never happened to us before. ALL organisations need to have robust contingency plans and that includes exam boards.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 20:02:06

The school Won't have been the ones to cancel the exam.

If the exam was cancelled it will be due to the invigilators.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 20:05:17

Problem is, YouOldSlag, other people in other parts of the country will have been able to sit the exam, so it can't just be postponed. However the modules can be taken in the summer exam session, but of course this is far from ideal as students will have other exams then and will (at least some of them) have prepared for this session.

Lara2 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:08:47

I was pissed off as I took DS2 to school only to find it was closed - they were turning kids (secondary) away at the gate. The text informing us of the closure arrived as we were on our way home! This was at 8.20, school starts at 8.35! I was going to be late for work (teacher at local primary) and panicking when the text arrived from my school saying we were closed 5 mind later- 5 minutes before I was supposed to be there!! Madness! Several staff had struggled in making treacherous journeys only to have to turn round and go back home! The senior management were in at 7.30 and could have made the decision and sent the text then!! They were furious!!!!

Lara2 Fri 18-Jan-13 20:09:58

The teachers who had struggled in, not the management team!

Goldmandra Fri 18-Jan-13 20:15:15

The school should have given shelter to all stranded pupils until someone was there to collect them.

snowybrrr Fri 18-Jan-13 20:38:43

YABU
and comments like this
'their plan was to bully as many students into travelling in' are just plain stupid!
If the student doesn't sit the module in January, they will (usually) be shooting themselves in the foot.They will be doing a qualification in one go, measured against people who are doing it in 2 halves.Now in things like maths where it is an application of techniques that might not be too bad, but in something with lots and lots of factual learning they are putting themselves at a severe disadvantage.
That is why the school are bending over backwards to try and find a way of getting the kids in.
This isn't SATS This is important FOR YOUR CHILD.The poor teachers must be banging their heads against the wall at the attitude of some parents!

IAmLouisWalsh Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:02

Invigilators can't cancel an exam!

We have exams scheduled for next week and have started contingency planning - they will have to go ahead, so we have identified rooms, key staff who can get in no matter what and spoken to the kids. If the weather is truly awful, school will be shut apart from the exam room.

IAmLouisWalsh Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:53

Anyway, no more January GCSEs after this year, so we just have to hope no freak snowfalls in May and June.....

Charmingbaker Fri 18-Jan-13 20:58:20

The real problem is that LEAs tend to tell heads to open if at all possible. Close and weather is milder than expected you get criticised, open and weather is worse that expected you get criticised ( and pupils and staff can face treacherous home journeys). Heads are not meteorologists and don't know what gritters are up to. I do feel that LEAs should make these decisions ( not necessarily closing a whole LEA) as they have far more expertise. When you add exams in to the mix it is even more complicated as external exams cannot just be taken again as soon as weather improves.

IAmLouisWalsh Fri 18-Jan-13 21:01:14

It really is down to the head - and as so many schools are academies now, LAs have very little say.

We are always damned if we do, damned if we don't. Our policy now is assume we are open, and of we can't get enough staff in we prioritise year groups.

pouffepants Fri 18-Jan-13 21:26:06

The snow wasn't forecast to hit here until lunchtime, so understandably no forward planning was sorted.

I couldn't take him early, when I discovered the problems because I drive a van with only 2 spare seats, so would have both dds with me. So had to wait until they'd gone to school. His only option was to get a bus as usual.

We would have had to leave earlier than the school declared that they were open, and even if i had enough seats I would have had to take extra children on hazardous roads.

None of this was the school's fault and they were only responding to what was happening. But what I do expect is an acknowledgement that sometimes things just aren't possible, and some kind of plan for what to do otherwise.

I don't think it's acceptable to expect people to be on hazardous roads and 'children' stranded for an exam. You shouldn't have to take ill-advised risks because there's no back-up plan at all.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 18-Jan-13 21:29:36

At DC's school, like another poster upthread, the school had already had the talk with the pupils about getting in to school and that, even if the school were shut for everyone else, the exams would still go ahead. We live within walking distance so I said to DS1 that we could have anyone at all to stay if they lived far away and were worried that they might not be able to get in.

I think your school had not planned for the bad weather very well. It was signposted in enough time. I'm not saying that the whole school should have been open, but the exams should have been able to be taken. The head at DC's school was staying on/near site to ensure that the school opened for exams.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 21:33:08

The only back up plan can be that the students take the exam in the June series.

Given that students will be prepared now, that is a huge decision to take. I'm very surprised they cancelled the exam TBH.

snowybrrr Fri 18-Jan-13 22:00:11

How can LEAs know whether the staff for a particular school can get in or not? Also some schools within an LEA will be in towns whilst others are deep in the countryside.

Are inviligilators school staff or employed by the exam board

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:02:53

IAmLouisWalsh

"Invigilators can't cancel an exam!"

The exam can be cancelled if the invigilators are not there to run it.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:02:59

Teachers could invigilate if necessary..

snowybrrr Fri 18-Jan-13 22:04:02

are they allowed to? If you were an exam board would you trust them?

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:08:45

Of course teachers can invigilate. They shouldn't need to because of the workload agreement, but in an emergency they can. The whole system ran on teacher invigilation until a few years ago. Many a happy memory of playing invigilation tag. You can't do it alone for your own subject, but apart from that no restrictions.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 18-Jan-13 22:15:03

Lara. With regards to the text. For the first time today I used a mass text service similar to one that schools use. Due to the high volume of texts on mobile networks they were taking time to go through

A text I sent to a colleague in the normal way took 2 hours to reach her.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:15:35

Teachers cannot be forced to invigilate exams as they are no longer contractually required to do so.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:16:19

We always used to. So, so dull.

We still invigilate the high control part of controlled assessments.

And yes, we can be trusted hmm

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:17:31

No, but would teachers really let an external exam be cancelled if it could be avoided? I wouldn't.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:18:25

Dull, TheFallenMadonna? I used to love a little invigilation game playing. Beats writing schemes of work in your gained time.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:20:53

But we had to do that too...

I think your memory is playing tricks on you. Two hours in your feet, praying for someone to ask to go to the loo. The odd game of battleships was merely temporary relief from the tedium.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:22:01

Thefallen

Would I let an exam be cancelled?
No, I wouldn't but I know many teachers that would worry about invigilating.

Besides nothing beats a good game of exam pacman.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:23:44

Why would they worry (apart from being bored into a stupor?)? Don't they do controlled assessments? How is it different?

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:26:25

You didn't play the 'first to be...' game then?

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:27:41

But we were in there for hours. Really. Even the games get tedious after a while. Rose tinted rear view mirror I reckon.

LineRunner Fri 18-Jan-13 22:28:27

OP, I do feel for you. A lot of schools played buggery bollocks today with announcing 'Open As Usual' at 7.30am - surprising, really, during a blizzard you could see if you stuck your head out of a window - and then after pupils struggled to get there, or try to get there, they sent them all back home within about an hour because not enough staff had come in.

Given that most of the school closures in 2010 were due to not enough staff turning up, and involved the same schools, you'd think those same schools might have learned a bit about prediction - and thrown all the skeleton staff at the exams and told all the other pupils to stay home. The whole 'We are open for business as usual' messages on school websites this morning in the midst of heavy snow were naive.

Thanks Kitten, I guess most people near me (rural highlands) have snow tires and chains, plus we are kinda used to having heaps of snow. I don't drive and end up taking dcs to school on a sled as the snow is too deep for them grin It's never occurred to me that alot of people won't be able to drive even in small amounts of snow since it's never been an issue here, and we have windy dirt tracks and back roads so there isn't a huge amount of traffic.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:30:38

A few years ago there was a whole host of worry about malpractice in exams, Too much help being given etc. All very silly but brought up by unions and newspapers.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:30:52

To be fair I only had to do it for a couple of years as I've only been teaching for 10, so I'll bow to your memories of boredom. I do remember how soul-destroying it was to see one of your students slump onto the little exam desk after 10 minutes never to pick up the pen again! Certainly wouldn't stop me being able to do it now in a snow emergency though. I'm pretty sure I could get through it without hissing the answers out, so the exam board (that I mark for!) can trust me. grin

TheFallenMadonna Fri 18-Jan-13 22:31:29

But we do it now, with controlled assessments.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:37:22

Yet controlled assesments are being phased out due to a lack of trust in teachers by politicians, papers, and the public.

ravenAK Fri 18-Jan-13 22:39:13

Our invigilators are mostly dinner ladies/cleaners, so local - they'd be the easiest to get in.

I'd definitely invigilate in an emergency, though, as a teacher. I'm expected to turn up even if school is shut to some/all students, & in those circumstances to teach collapsed classes or whatever, so no problem doing invigilation - workload agreement allows for exceptional situations.

& it would never even occur to me that I could indulge in malpractice.

I've done as much of that as I dare during Controlled Assessment...grin/notreally.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:41:42

Controlled assessment is going because Gove is an arse.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:43:08

It may also surprise you to know, BoneyBack, that I help set the questions for the exam some of my students take.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:44:04

Why would it surprise me?

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:45:28

Because you seem to think we can't be trusted?

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 18-Jan-13 22:48:51

I haved said that I don't trust teachers, being one myself it would be just a little bit silly.

I am reffering to the usual usual stuff in papers from politicians and the general population. hence my post of 22:37:22

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 22:55:47

Well, I don't know anyone in my school that would worry about invigilating an exam in snowy conditions. You aren't allowed to be on your own for your own subject, as was always the case, so unless you were engaged in a mass conspiracy I think any teacher would find it difficult to cheat in the actual exam.

sashh Sat 19-Jan-13 06:18:27

KentuckyFriedChildren

I learned to drive in all conditions in the north of England, I know to set off in second gear etc.

Yesterday I was sent home early as I live 30 miles away and the college was closing at 12 anyway.

The motorway was clear, the back road I took as a short cut on the last bit of my journey was 'virgin snow' and was fine. The difficult bits were getting to the motorway, I skidded on slush at a roundabout, and a final hill which was also pure slush. Both were in built up residential areas.

I think you are at fault. If dd had an exam to sit she would have been my priority, I would have driven her there because as someone who has to rely on country school buses to get her dd to school I know how much they do not get through when there is bad weather. I just can't understand why you didn't drive DS to school and then go drop the others off?

pouffepants Sat 19-Jan-13 08:03:35

Because I only have 2 spare seats in my van.

Because the school announced it was open at 8am, as ds had to leave home for the bus, as the snow became heavy.

Even if I had abandoned one child (too young)at that moment I would not have got there for 9.15 (original start time) because the roads were gridlocked. Even on a clear day it takes 45mins at school time to do our 8 mile road because of traffic.

The buses were apparently running, but were stuck on the same roads that both I and the nurse ended up on.

Dh was also stuck in the same traffic in the opposite direction trying to get home from night shift.

There are situations where you CAN NOT get somewhere. Why couldn't the kids that were there take it, and the the kids that weren't take in the summer?

Of course, it's a disadvantage to ds, but that's life. I'd rather that than being told 'get in or fail'. I don't know if any of the other kids took risks, but it's entirely possible that people ended up walking up an icy, accident prone dual carriageway to get there.

goldiehorn Sat 19-Jan-13 08:04:25

Ffs so let me get this straight:

Schools shut (because we are not used to snow in this country and it is very difficult for many teachers and pupils to make it in) and teachers are lazy shirkers who just want to play in the snow rather than educating the future generations.

Schools open (after all its just a bit of snow right? Why should everything come to a standstill!) and teachers are irresponsible and dont care about the safety of the future generations.

marcopront Costa Rica Sat 19-Jan-13 08:38:57

When I used to work in Birmingham they used to do city wide closures.

One Monday night the person who made the decisions looked at the forecast and declared a closure. So everybody knew and could make plans for no school on Tuesday, we had been sent home early on the Monday and people complained about lack of notice. The forecasted snow didn't come and people complained.

Then they decided to let schools make their own call. On the Friday it snowed again. Our head lived a long way from school, by the time she got to the school and made the closure call it was really late.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 19-Jan-13 09:41:21

Ambrosiacreamedrice

So because you don't know anyone with these worries it must be a conspiracy?

Ambrosiacreamedrice Sat 19-Jan-13 10:18:15

No, I'm saying that unless you have all the teachers involved engaged in a conspiracy attempting to influence the outcome of an exam would not work.

Not that you are involved in a conspiracy.

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 19-Jan-13 11:41:17

If there were enough people there to say cancel the exam, there were enough people there to invigilate.

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 19-Jan-13 11:56:56

A teacher can get in to trouble for influnencing the outcome of one exam paper.

In a school where I worked a teacher was fully investigated for allegedly giving one pupil help in an exam.

IAmLouisWalsh Sat 19-Jan-13 12:30:50

Yes, but if you weigh up the problems caused by cancelling an exam against the risk of allegations of malpractice, I would run the exam every time and make sure it was 'belt and braces' in the exam room - no-one on their own etc etc.

So, our plans if it is dreadful next week for a group of 30 doing a GCSE involve the exams officer, another non-teaching member of staff and me being in the room - I don't teach that subject so would be no help. We are all close enough to get in even if the weather is crap. If I am not able to get in (am furthest away) then another member of office staff will step in.

GoingBackToSchool Sat 19-Jan-13 14:30:42

National exams have to go ahead as scheduled. There's no way schools can get around it. I don't think that they were wrong to insist that he came in, missing the exam would mean that he would have to do it in the summer, becoming more stressful for him (more revision) and more costly for the school/you (schools have to pay for re-sits/my school made sudents/paeents pay for resits).
The school I work in was shut but kids doing exams had to come in. Sucks, but that's the way it has to be sometimes.

DeepRedBetty Sat 19-Jan-13 14:41:23

Ours announced closure at 6.30 a.m., and told exam candidates to make their way under their own steam if at all possible, and if they couldn't, they would be able to retake in June - exam board rules, not school. The snow didn't really get going until 8 a.m. and by midmorning there were stuck lorries and sliding vans round every corner... continued like this all day. They were still trying to shift one HGV at 9 p.m. So definitely the right call.

It was on the website, on the local radio, and on the school reception answerphone.

All very well organised, and proof that it is possible for schools to get it right.

pouffepants Sat 19-Jan-13 19:36:35

Sounds just right, deepredbetty.

I wanted to be able to make the judgment call that it was too dangerous/impossible, therefore he would have to retake at our inconvenience/expense. If they could run it for the kids there, then great.

As it was, I was given the choice get him regardless or fail the exam. That seems absurd.

pouffepants Sun 20-Jan-13 22:00:35

Just checked whether they are open tomorrow, and there's a massive message on their homepage.

We are open tomorrow, but will confirm at 7am.

dress in warm appropriate clothes
bring emergency money
bring a fully charged phone
have contingency plans

DO NOT travel if you don't feel it safe to do so

If exams are cancelled, students will not be disadvantaged as there are emergency closure protocols.

I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist. It still doesn't cover what happens if you don't think it's safe to get in, but the exam isn't cancelled. Can't see it happening again though, it hardly ever snows here.

i think there were a lot of complaints by the look of things, and I've heard a lot of people were stuck in predicaments. Apparently quite a few kids walked home down the A27 dual carriageway, which was never going to be a good idea.

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