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.

School closure

(29 Posts)
Nixxi99 Thu 24-Jan-13 20:39:12

To be annoyed that my son has had no education since Monday lunchtime due to a problem with the heating in his school. Head sent letter today saying they don't know what the problem is, how long it will take to find and fix and don't know how long the school will be closed. They are going to put reading list and work on fronter. School is a secondary so pupils are 11 and older, but I don't feel happy to leave my son home alone all day while I work next week, boss has given me time off this week, unpaid leave, but I need to work next week. Any thoughts?

Sirzy Thu 24-Jan-13 20:41:21

I think a couple of days is one thing but when it gets to nearly a week they need to start looking for some sort of alternatives, especially for those in the upper school who will have important exams coming up in the next few months.

Euphemia France Thu 24-Jan-13 20:41:37

YABU

I'm sure that if the school could have it fixed faster, they would.

Touchmybum Thu 24-Jan-13 20:43:58

Yes I think YABU - I'm not sure what suggestion you would make to get the school open more quickly?

I do understand about work though.

How old is your son? I'd have thought most secondary pupils could be trusted at home alone. If not, is there a friends house he could go to during the day?

It sounds like the school is doing all they can and that the teachers are about to start posting work online. I'm not sure what else they could do in the circumstances you describe.

2kidsintow Netherlands Thu 24-Jan-13 20:49:56

It depends on the child, I suppose.
My DD is in y7 and lets herself in after school. She is v sensible and I am happpy to let her stay at home on her own on training days etc. I'd not worry if she was staying at home for the week on her own.

My friend's son has adhd and a host of other problems (still mainstream) and she doesn't trust him to stay on his own in the house for more than 10 mins at a time as she recognises that he hasn't got (in her opinion) an ounce of common sense.

Touchmybum Thu 24-Jan-13 20:51:40

I think 11 is too young to be left home alone all day tbh, probably ok at 14?

longingforsomesleep Thu 24-Jan-13 20:53:11

YANBU - a week off school and no sign of the problem being fixed?! I'd be furious if that was my kids' school. Does it have a sixth form? If so, how are they coping with public exams? Somebody needs to pull their finger out and get it sorted.

Nixxi99 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:03:43

The school is open for exams.
I appreciated the problem can't be fixed 'till they know what it is, however..... surely portable heaters in classrooms, with a barrier around them to satisfy the H&S peeps? I agree with some children more mature at younger/older ages. All day is a long time, especially when all his mates are off school as well!

Nixxi99 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:31:46

Son is year 9, but a July baby so 13 years old, he also has ADHD.
I spoke to school and council and there appears to be no contingency/major incident plans in place, what happens if leak takes weeks to find/fix?
What constitutes children being provided an education?

fairylightsinthesnow Thu 24-Jan-13 22:26:59

Portable heaters in 60-70 odd rooms, paid for by whom? Barriers made out of what? Yes it is extremely unfortunate but heating systems in buildings / building complexes of that size are notoriously difficult and LEAs don't have some standby crack team of plumbers ready to abseil in and fix stuff in 24 hrs notice. I can just see the threads now:
"AIBU to be furious my kids are having to wear their coats in class"
"AIBU that my son burnt himself on the portable radiator"
"AIBU that my DD has to share a text book but the rooms are toasty warm?"

blobandsnail Thu 24-Jan-13 22:34:19

No heating is a poor excuse for a school being closed - of course only if the rooms meet the requirement for the EU minimum working temperature of 16c or 13c if they made them get up and do some exercise every 30 minutes.

Surely they could just let them come in in non uniform, wrapped up well and provide warm drinks? Maybe make the school day shorter if they're that concerned they'll get hypothermia in the 6 hours they're there. I've been sitting at home with no heating on all day and it's - 2c outside.

poppypebble Thu 24-Jan-13 22:50:50

We had portable heaters when the boiler went off. It was fine until 8:45 when every teacher switched the lights on in their form rooms and the electric tripped out, necessitating a school closure as it was both freezing and pitch black.

I teach half of the week in a mobile classroom and the room is regularly at 5/6c when I get in. Body heat from the kids can get it up a bit but we do tend to all wear our coats until about period 4, when the storage heaters start to pump out some heat. It is horrible and not conducive to any learning at all really - my fingers are sometimes so cold that I can't write on the board properly. Today someone snuck in a snowball which I didn't spot until 30 minutes into the lesson - it hadn't started to melt at all. I only cope with break/lunch in a warm office, there is no way I could cope all day in those temps without respite.

Nixxi99 Thu 24-Jan-13 22:56:32

I was being sarcastic about the barriers.....if the school believes that at 11-18 they are ok to be left home alone to work for the whole day (for those who have parents who work) I think they should be able to move around with out burning themselves on heaters. Yes wrap up warm, why not?
My issue is the length of time the pupils are not being educated, 4.5 days so far, with no end in sight, I don't expect a 24 hour turn round. How long would you be happy your child going without schooling? I personally think there should be contingency plans in place, should a school have to shut, for any reason, for more than a week.

poppypebble Thu 24-Jan-13 22:57:54

What contingency would you suggest? Other than remote learning, which you say is happening?

landofsoapandglory Thu 24-Jan-13 23:01:02

Schools can't win can they? If they had had they DC in this week, when it has been freezing cold, with snow on the ground with no heating it would have been wrong, and so they keep them off and that is wrong too!

I would have thought the vast majority of secondary school DC could be left alone in the day, especially by the time they get to year 9.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 24-Jan-13 23:02:19

YANBU. It's even worse that they haven't provided work for them online yet. Even if they just sent round emails with links to stuff they could be reading from the BBC website it would be something.

I think the lack of work is definitely worth complaining about.

My ds's (secondary) school shut for one day and they put work up on the website, and the teachers answered emails.

Touchmybum Thu 24-Jan-13 23:08:38

I don't think it is a poor excuse, particularly as the temperatures have been very low in the last week. I wouldn't want my children sitting in a classroom in freezing conditions.

I would assume there is a serious fault with the heating system and I guess if you have any confidence in the principal and the school management you will trust their judgement to do what is best in the interests of the pupils.

PootlePosyPerkin Thu 24-Jan-13 23:09:11

Where does your DS go in the school holidays if he does not stay home alone whilst you work?

I can see your problem (although it comes across to me that you are worried about being inconvenienced more than the lack of education really) but I dount very much that a school - especially a secondary - would stay closed if there were any other options.

Nixxi99 Thu 24-Jan-13 23:29:49

How long can remote learning go on for? No schooling for 1 week already, no end in sight.

If remote learning is OK for a week or 2, 3 or 4 should we not just go the whole hog and ditch the whole "school" thing and let our children sit at home and do work sent to them by a central organisation?

If our home/office/workplace heating went off we would wrap up, put portable heaters on and get on with what needed to be done. Surely.

Touchmybum Thu 24-Jan-13 23:45:58

Schools don't just have portable heaters sitting waiting to be used.

I imagine that would have already been considered as an option and rejected for whatever reason. It would be an expensive way to heat the school as well - one small fanheater might heat an office but not a classroom.

Why don't you ring the school in the morning, voice your concerns and see what the principal says?

Flisspaps Fri 25-Jan-13 03:35:56

Nixxi the Offices, Shops and Railways Act stipulates that the min temperature must be 16c after an hour of opening, so no, if the office was under 16c because the heating was broken I wouldn't go into work. The onus would be on my employer to get the heating system mended or provide a workable alternative (portable heaters in classrooms won't even touch the cold!)

I wouldn't expect schoolchildren to work in freezing conditions either.

karron Fri 25-Jan-13 03:54:45

is it an academy? Just being nosey really it's just that the bills for sorting and fixing fall to school rather than the local authority so wonder if that's part of the delay.

DozyDuck Fri 25-Jan-13 04:47:22

We weren't even allowed portable heaters in the staff room because of health and safety unfortunately

Touchmybum Fri 25-Jan-13 13:10:46

My kids' primary was closed for three days a couple of years ago when their brand spanking new super-duper hi-tec heating system broke down and was v complex to repair!

When our heating broken when I ws at school the school was partially open.

The intrinsically warmer rooms were supplemented with portable heaters. Home economics classrooms and science labs were heated by the gas rings and Bunsen burners. About a third of the classrooms were deamed usable so the school was open to 2 yeargroups per day on a rotating basis.

Having said that I think there would be genuine h&s concerns in today's schools around the idea of gas cookers and Bunsen burners. Is. The school a single building? Are all buildings affected? Could they partially open?

It also depends on the nature of the problem if it is a gas leak then there would be safety concerns around that.

Personally I think you also need to consider some contingency. In the event of bad weather closing our school there are parents that have volunteered to take it in turns to take a day looking after the kids reducing the burden on individual parents.

Bosgrove Fri 25-Jan-13 18:30:09

The secondary opposite my parents house had a power cut a couple of weeks ago, for over a week the electricity board provided a generator to power the school. It kept my parents awake because of the racket it was making.

The school only shut one day when the generator failed, much to the disappointment of the pupils.

alistron1 Fri 25-Jan-13 19:29:14

My sons school shut for a week a couple of years ago when there was a problem with the gas supply to the school. No heating = no hot water, how can kids wash their hands, or cleaning occur? Especially important at the peak of the flu/Noro season?

His school shut for a week or so again a few months later after a fire. Should they have just worked around the charred embers of the hall/classroom?

Schools don't have banks of portable heaters, or the facilities to make regular hot drinks for several hundred pupils.

Nixxi99 Fri 25-Jan-13 19:57:57

School will now not be open until at least Tuesday, and after that they cannot tell us.
We have got some maths, English and science work to do remotely.
The local council will not do anything until they are legally obligated to. They are only only legally obligated to educate our children, after 6 days, and only after they have not received "reasonable education". I would question what "reasonable education" was.
It's been an eye opener.
Thank you for all your comments.

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