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How much does the decision to close a school have to do with

(80 Posts)
Contactless Mon 11-Dec-17 17:14:56

the fact that attendance will be really poor in snowy weather?

i.e. a substantial number of parents decide they "thought" the school would be closed, or they they didn't want to take the car out or simply take the opportunity to go sledging, the school's attendance average will be adversely affected.

I ask because I know this was part of the decision making discussion at our school, although we did open (and had about 70% attendance)

MiddlingMum Mon 11-Dec-17 17:22:24

Here it's been made very clear that school sites aren't safe and that not enough teachers can get in.

There should be a system whereby if a teacher can't get to their normal school, they go to their local one as cover.

Contactless Mon 11-Dec-17 17:27:21

Interesting Middling because when I worked for a bank , years ago, that's what we had to do. Report to our nearest branch. They don't do it anymore because it was more aggravation than it was worth. Loads of people turning up who don;t know the local systems etc.

I know they say it's because the site's not safe, but we managed to risk assess ours and clear enough to operate safely, although obviously all sites are different. Here the roads are pretty good, it's just the paths within schools that are a bit treacherous. I just wonder if the risk that attendance will be very low if they do open is also taken into account.

Ilikesweetpeas Mon 11-Dec-17 17:32:30

The reason teachers don't get told to go to their local school is safeguarding. Anyone could turn up and claim to be a teacher! Their own schools will have their DBS and they will be on the schools single central record, there's no way a receiving school could verify who the person turning up was plus you wouldn't have the right skill set to teach the children there (eg y6 teachers turning up for nursery!) It's down to the head to assess the safety of the site and decide that they have enough staff to keep everyone safe.

Ecureuil Mon 11-Dec-17 17:33:50

Yes I imagine that will be part of the decision making process. Where I live the primary schools were open (most people are walking distance) but they closed the secondary school where people would be coming from further afield via bus etc, so imagine they thought less people would make the journey if they were coming from further away.

Lemoncurd Mon 11-Dec-17 17:39:18

Interesting! I was looking at school closure lists earlier and was trying to figure out why in one local authority most schools were closed and the neighbouring one (which kind of wraps around the first and weather conditions would be similar) most were open.
One LA is very affluent and the other is quite deprived.

The one where most were closed is more built up and likely to have better transport links too.

MiddlingMum Mon 11-Dec-17 17:43:48

wrt teachers going to other schools, surely they have some form of identification which would make that easy?

Balfe Mon 11-Dec-17 17:47:02

Yes, we bring our ID badge which certifies that we work for the LA. My school is on a main road though so if I can reach the nearest, I'm more than likely able to go onto my own.

We'd count 70% as really quite high in conditions like today.

exLtEveDallas Mon 11-Dec-17 17:48:30

They may hold their DBS certificate, but it won't be valid for use at other schools unless they have paid for portability, which most don't.

Other than that, nope, no special id.

elephantoverthehill Mon 11-Dec-17 17:49:08

It is/was a condition of service that teachers should go to their local school in adverse weather conditions if they can't get to theirs but I have never known it to be put into place in the last 30 years.

Contactless Mon 11-Dec-17 17:51:01

It wouldn't/shouldn't be difficult to manage Middling. They could turn up with their DBS certificate, teaching qualification and ID and all the checks that would be done if they were newly appointed have been done. Also, as a one off visitor there is no requirement to be on the Single Central Register .

Their own schools absolutely won't have their DBS certificate. Schools have to see it but are not allowed to retain it as any "record" is to be used for the recruitment decision but must not influence anything else subsequently. The HR file will have a record of the number but not the certificate ( not even a copy). The certificate remains the property of the member of staff.

Balfe Mon 11-Dec-17 17:51:07

I'm in Scotland and we have a PVG instead. I am 90% sure it is done for the LA not the individual school.

DrMadelineMaxwell Mon 11-Dec-17 17:54:33

None at our school.

We were shut because the conditions on the road and the long winding, sloping path down to the school were treacherous.
And that a lot of the staff were unable to get in due to dangerous conditions where they live.
And that there were no kitchen staff able to make it in so that dinners couldn't be served.

There was a theoretical system in place in our county that you go to your nearest school if yours was shut, but it just doesn't work in reality.

We aren't babysitters. Turning up to teach a class you have never met, don't know the needs for and have to then entertain/teach for the day is far from ideal. Turning up to teach a class you don't know who are high as kites with excitement of the snow and who can't go out for breaks due to slippery yards would be even worse.

It would also need a great deal of managing so you knew which one to go to that you were local to so no schools had more teachers than they needed and some had an insufficient number, so that schools didn't stay open expecting staff where there were none to go in.

AlexanderHamilton Mon 11-Dec-17 17:54:55

Ds's school have brought in an external company to help clear the site of snow/make icy paths safe today so that it can open tomorrow.

Two schools near me (opppsite direction) closed Friday even though there was virtually no snow but the main road was treacherous there (two accidents caused by cars skidding that I know of). I think that routes to school is taken into account a lot.

Mormont Mon 11-Dec-17 17:56:45

Here many of the staff live 'up in the hills' and their nearest school in walkable distance would be the village school is more than likely closed down!

Reallytired17 Mon 11-Dec-17 17:57:26

I love a good snow day. I would favour opening the school on skeleton staff allowing working parents to get in, though.

Contactless Mon 11-Dec-17 18:00:08

Have just heard that DSs' secondary is closed tomorrow as well. Honestly there's nothing left here but apparently the hard work the staff have done today clearing snow has resulted in water freezing and making the site an ice rink.

The students (on FB) are quipping that the head's scared to drive his Porsche in. The assure me it's brand new and top of the range...Dh has a very nice car which I never take to work for fear of being judged exactly like this grin

gobbin Mon 11-Dec-17 18:01:32

There should be a system whereby if a teacher can't get to their normal school, they go to their local one as cover

Which would be fine if there was a national system of DBS checks.
However, my LEA DBS where I teachndoesn’t count for the LEA in which I live.

This also just reinforces that we are just seen as glorified childminders. In order to just rock up at a school and teach whoever, whenever, whatever, is a logistical nightmare. Easier to stay closed for a day or two !

Contactless Mon 11-Dec-17 18:03:25

The DBS is a red herring. Yes, you need a new one if you are to be appointed as permanent teacher in a different LA, but not to visit the school for one day.

BumpowderSneezeonAndSnot Mon 11-Dec-17 18:03:28

I couldn't work out why in this county the grammars stayed open (which ship in kids from this county and 2 neighbouring ones) but the local primaries couldn't

Contactless Mon 11-Dec-17 18:04:09

I agree it doesn't make sense to try and keep the school open with teachers who don't know the kids or the school though.

serialtester Mon 11-Dec-17 18:04:58

It's not just site safety, it's site access. For example if people can walk in but the roads are impassable by vehicle what would the school do if an ambulance was needed on site? There are many many factors.

steppemum Mon 11-Dec-17 18:05:03

There should be a system whereby if a teacher can't get to their normal school, they go to their local one as cover.

This used to be standard. It is nothing to do with safeguarding, with correct id and computers it is a matter of moments to verify that this person works for the LEA.
The problem is that so many schools are no longer run by LEA, and academy schools and LEA staff can't switch.

I am always interested in why one school opens and the one next door closes. But in the end it is always down to getting enough staff in to cover the kids.
Most kids at our school are walking distance, most staff are not.

It is amazing to me though, little girls, reception age turning up to school this morning, snow 4 inches yesterday and pavements thick with wet slush, girls in Mary Jane school shoes.
Why???? Stick some warm shoes/wellies/trainers on for the walk to school and take in their shoes in their bag so they have dry feet all day.

cricketballs3 Mon 11-Dec-17 18:08:12

We have staff that live a large distance away with a large number who are very rural, the L.A. is notorious for their lack of gritting, a large site that students have to move between different buildings, a site whose emergency evacuation area is via a steep bank and over 1000 teenagers who 'have never seen snow before' you would think given their over excitement at seeming the white stuff. So yes attendance might be an issue given Ofsted's dim view but safety is the main factor

Librarybooksandacoconut Mon 11-Dec-17 18:09:30

This is the NUT's line on attending your local school:

I can’t get to my own school because of the snow and my head teacher has suggested that I offer my services at my nearest school. Is this a sensible idea?

No it isn’t. It would not be helpful for schools to have strangers turning up offering their services. Quite apart from the issue of DBS checks, the idea is totally impracticable. Schools need to make decisions about closure early in the morning or the previous evening. Such decisions cannot be made based on the off-chance that other teachers might be available to help out.

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