Why do so many schools close?

(112 Posts)
Missbopeep Fri 18-Jan-13 10:23:10

Yes I know this comes up each time we have snow- but WHY?

I went to school in the 60s & 70s in the north and I don't remember 1 day when school was closed for snow. We had teachers who drove miles to get in, or classes were simply doubled up in the hall, library etc.

The only times school was closed was on the rare occasions the boiler broke down.

Are we more whimpish and just not up to travelling now or is it because too many families rely on cars to get their chldren to school - I used to walk a mile each way.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 11:06:45

They are school specific which is daft, partiucarly when I the schools are linked. I am known in the primary as I do outreach work in there.

SoggySummer Fri 18-Jan-13 11:08:58

Because so many people live miles from where they work.

Gone are the days where people lived their whole lives in their local community.

Health and Safety is also a hindrence. If a school opened and only 3 staff could get in and a child was hurt in a freak accident - everyone would be up in arms. In the 1970's more than 3 staff would have got in because most will have lived a walkable distance to the school but if not, some SAHMs would have stood in to help and been allowed completely unchecked and if a kid had a freak accident there would be no blame - it would have been an accident and no one would be looking for someone to blame and sue.

Mu51cal Fri 18-Jan-13 11:09:48

Latsaloon - are you actually that ignorant that you feel qualified to comment on the rationale of every school and every teacher in the land??? How much snow do you have where you are? Have you even driven in 4 inches of snow on ungritted country roads??? Do you even work???

Trills Fri 18-Jan-13 11:10:21

They could also use staff from the secondary who live local.

You want people with no training in teaching small children, who work for a different school, to come in to your children's school? And do what with them?

lastsaloonNelson Fri 18-Jan-13 11:11:08

Arisbottle please re-read my post I did say NOT ALL,I know. Just find it odd that every shop/business etc seems to be able to get their staff in and operate as normal,be it on a skeleton staff occupancy sometimes,but schools are always the first to give up and close.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 11:14:11

Sorry am probably grumpy having just trudged home through the snow, am sat here in lots of layers shivering.

lastsaloon thats so not true. When I was teaching the HT closed for the following reasons, teachers not able to get to school or back home again safely, same with children, boiler breaking (frequently as old school, quite common I think) School Meals not able to get in, if the playground froze then it could be dangerous, but would have to be ice rink for her to shut. Often the LEA would inform her in the morning to shut (even if most staff in).

ProPerformer Fri 18-Jan-13 11:15:23

Mu51cal got it right. There needs to be a certain staff/pupils ratio to be allowed to open. (And by staff, I mean teachers as, believe it or not a lot of school staff are not insured to look after a class even if work was set!)
The school I work at is closed today because a lot of the teachers and pupils live quite far away and it wouldn't be safe for them to go in. Even if we were open we were going to open late and close early for safety. Plus, as everyone says no-work would be done Abd the kids wouldn't concentrate or do any worthwhile work. Our school was the only one open un the area one 'snow day' last year - it was BEDLAM! Half the parents didn't send their kids in, and the kids that were there were constantly complaining that it wasn't fair. Ended up in a mass staff vs Pupils snowball fight and then going home early. Fun yes, but would have been more productive being at home playing with DS and/or doing housework!

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Jan-13 11:15:25

Well the binmen haven't come and my dentist appointment has been cancelled so I think it's a bit of an exaggeration to say that everybody else has managed to get into work. Our local uni has also closed and buses and some trains aren't running.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 18-Jan-13 11:15:27

I live four miles from my kids school and one mile from my nearest school.
There is a bus crashed at the end of my road and a lorry jack knifed on the roundabout.
Kids' school catchment is 11 miles across - rural B and C roads : kids could not get to the bus stops even if the buses could.
BUT
The teachers have set them work on the VLE which they are both currently doing.

I'm most annoyed because my yoga class was cancelled!

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 11:15:53

Trill at my local primary school I think there are enough local members of staff to cover the younger years. I am sure I could do something meaningful with the juniors. Probably not their best lesson every but worth having a go.

Loads of people from other walks of life leave work early or do not make it in, not just teachers.

scissy Fri 18-Jan-13 11:17:44

Sometimes it can be about H&S, the council refused to grit the pavement/road outside a local primary as it wasn't "a main route". One of the mums walking her kid to school slipped and broke her leg (at the school entrance). The head rang the council asking if they were going to create clear access to the school, they said no, so she closed the school rather than risk another accident.

Trills Fri 18-Jan-13 11:18:07

every shop/business etc seems to be able to get their staff in and operate as normal,be it on a skeleton staff occupancy sometimes

Schools can't operate on a skeleton staff.

lougle Fri 18-Jan-13 11:18:59

DD1's school -special school to which most children are transported. Near a motorway bridge which is treacherous in snowy weather and contractors say unsafe.

DD2's school -many teachers work far away, many children far away, site on a hill so unsafe.

DD3's montessori - owner made it in, plus one other staff member, so open for the few children who live locally and can make it in.

True scissy, I cant remember the schools I taught at having grit, and the council wouldnt grit the playground.

lastsaloonNelson Fri 18-Jan-13 11:19:54

Mu51cal,no need to get personal. I know you had a nasty shock this morning and I appreciate that you tried to get in. Again I did say : NOT ALL,I know.
I DO work,not that that has anything to do with the subject. Full time,never missed a day for weather reasons. I try to be prepared,leave earlier if need be. I might be in later,try very hard not to be, but I'm there.
I fully emphasise with people in rural areas,and yes there is a point that you have to decide it is no longer safe to travel. It's just that that point seems to vary a lot between people.
I have quite a few teachers among my friends,delightful people,but it does grind a bit, when watching the weather forecast at the beginning of the week they are excitedly making plans for a possible bonus long weekend......

jojane Fri 18-Jan-13 11:21:51

It's about the health and safety aspect, and also if more snow is forecast they don't have the proper resources to keep little children overnight, I know I wouldn't want my child stuck t school overnight without me. We don't have a school in our village so they go 4 miles away up country roads.

We don't tend to get very bad snow where I live, and school is a few minutes walk away but 10-15 miles away where many of our schools teachers live, they get terrible snow every time. So I wouldn't be surprised if our school closed due to low staffing if it gets much worse.

Having said that, my preschool has just phoned to say they are closing at 12 grin

nipersvest Fri 18-Jan-13 11:22:50

my dc's school rarely closes as so many of the staff live locally and can walk. the kids hate it when all the other schools close, as their's is right on the edge of town near a hill. all the other kids will be up there sledging while they're still in lessons.

Panzee Fri 18-Jan-13 11:23:40

So some people don't want teaching, they want babysitters. That's what happens if schools open with skeleton staff, or teachers drafted in from other schools.
That's fine, its hard when you have to go to work and the kids are off, but don't then moan they're not learning anything. wink

EvilTwins Fri 18-Jan-13 11:24:49

I had way more snow days as a pupil than I have had as a teacher. My school is closed today- first time in 3 years. We're fairly rural and the bus companies won't be bringing kids in. I actually did go into school to get some stuff to do so I don't get behind with things. It took over half an hour (it's 5 miles) and I skidded and nearly lost control of the car twice. Our bursar and caretaker were in, as we're a couple of teaching staff and some exam invigilators as there was an AS exam on.

JumpHerWho Fri 18-Jan-13 11:25:13

Oh come on. It's one of the perks of being a teacher. Don't be such a grouch. Should they work from home if the school shuts? Or better still, provide free childcare from their home for you? Why does it bother you lastsaloon if they are hoping for a snow day? Methinks you're a bit jel.

<gets sledge out>

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 11:26:13

I agree about secondary schools in rural areas closing, although they have to remain open for exams. But a village primary to which most children are local should try to remain open if staff are available.

Startail Fri 18-Jan-13 11:26:36

If school is open DCs who can't get in get marked absent. However, genuinely the children are stuck.

OFSTED take a dim view of poor attendance and refuse to listen to reason.

DDs school have pupils that live across the road and pupils who have 60+ minute bus trips. Lots, like us, start out on very narrow rural lanes that have not been gritted.

Fortunately, school is closed.
No way would I have risked my no claims on meeting someone coming to fast the other way.

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