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School closure dragging on

(64 Posts)
sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 03-Dec-10 07:12:54

Grrrrrr at the newspaper headlines that 40% of workers are staying at home due to the snow. Some of us would be working if the schools were open or partially open.

Dh can get to his workplace an hour away by car (although it's taken 2 hours for the past couple of days). He and ALL his work colleagues are getting in to work despite the vastly increased travel times.

Main roads are fine, minor roads are passable with care. I can get to the school, the supermarket, the petrol station, the nearest B&Q, all the places I normally run about to and from. I've had to take the dc to work for an hour (with their nintendo ds to keep them quiet) to attend to urgent matters and pick up more some stuff to bring home which I am now failing to get done as I have the dc to see to/amuse/feed etc.

Neither dh nor I have 4WD vehicles, our cars are nothing special, both over 5 years old.

School however is closed for the fourth day today as not enough staff can make it in. I'm left wondering where they all live and why the staff that can get in can't organise to run a reduced school for the children of working parents so that the economy doesn't suffer so much.

I haven't seen any local businesses closed, just operating with reduced staff (no doubt possibly also due to school closures).

I've had to warn family who were due to visit between Christmas and New Year that I'll most likely be working those days now to make up the time I've had off this week. Unpaid time off is not a possibility unless there is no opportunity to make up the time before the end of the holiday year.

Hulababy Fri 03-Dec-10 07:14:59

We are back open today in Sheffield. Reduced hours though.

Feenie Fri 03-Dec-10 07:26:07

My son's school is closed, my husband's college is also, but I have to go and get the bus to ours which is open - tried to dig my car out of its car park yesterday but couldn't, too much snow.

RustyBear Fri 03-Dec-10 07:34:26

I can't comment on whether or not the staff at your school could actually have got in, as I don't know your local conditions, but then neither do you know the conditions where the teachers live - round here a couple of miles meant a massive difference in the amount of snow that fell.

But if the staff aren't there, the school can't really say they are open for selected children only - if they are open at all, they have to have enough staff for all the children, as they could all turn up. They can't sit at the door asking if both parents work and turning back the children of SAHPs,,,

BigTillyMincepie Fri 03-Dec-10 07:46:19

What I can't understand is how do schools in France and other countries manage to stay open all year round despite the snow?

I know they have better snow-ploughs and gritters, etc, but some of our schools are closed because of snow and ice in playground.

I think it's the "compo culture" - frightened to open for "health and safety" reasons, which the French would just sneer at.

sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 03-Dec-10 07:47:14

I'd say we've had about a foot of snow over several days, more in the few hilly areas and with drifts in itially built up in exposed areas but the council have cleared roads and gritted. Staff would only need to dig their car out of their driveways and drive very carefully on side roads to the nearest maintained road once, just as dh and I have done, there hasn't been a foot of snow each day, just a foot in total about 2 days ago and minor snow flurries since.

You do have to drive carefully but nowhere round here is cut off by snow. I still think that if the option was to get in to work this week or lose part of your long Christmas to New Year break, then we'd find that more schools were re-opening.

BigTillyMincepie Fri 03-Dec-10 07:51:07

I think you're right sitdown, and I'm a teacher.

We are in South London and the snow and thick ice is pretty bad here and the roads other than the main roads have not been gritted, but if some teachers are making the effort to find ways of getting in, why can't everyone?

sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 03-Dec-10 08:01:51

RustyBear All it would take is a annual declaration each year once school starts in the Autumn as to whether parents work and your child is then on the list of those to be admitted if school is running a skeleton staff. Parents would know if they had declared or not and the local radio could make it clear whether pupils on the emergency list were still to come in if possible. A couple of schools in our region have closed to some years and kept others open (presumably due to the staff who can can't make it in/cover for colleagues).

Schools keep many different lists of pupils for all sorts of reasons. One more list for the purpose of supporting the local economy would surely gain government approval.

Our school operates a fairly efficient system of notification of closure via e-mail/school website/local radio/viral text messaging. They would hardly be turning parents away at the door.

nikos Fri 03-Dec-10 08:06:51

Its getting to the main roads though. We live in a cul de sac and everytime we have tried to get out the last few days we have got stuck.

annh Fri 03-Dec-10 08:22:37

Sitdown, I'm sorry but that is a completely unworkable idea to admit only some children to school. What about parents who work part-time, would your child then only be admitted to school on the days that you worked? What about parents who decide that they will register as working even if they don't, in order to ensure their child is admitted to school on snow days? Will there be a hotline to report parents for fraud?

gingernutlover Fri 03-Dec-10 08:22:40

my school in kent has been closed for 3 days - the decision was made because it is in an isolated village where the roads for about 5 miles surrounding it are sheet ice and never get gritted.

I am grateful that I havent been asked to go in because I face an 11 mile drive on about 8 miles of untreated roads - but had the school been open I would have at least tried, the decision was taken out fo my hands.

If we had more gritters and more snow ploughs, more schools would be open - that is the simple truth.

I am looking for a job nearer to home, because this is becoming an issue for me.

gingernutlover Fri 03-Dec-10 08:25:38

and I can see how the list of parenst who work would be a very good idea - but I suppose you'd need to see some evidence of them working.

The first day our school was officially closed our head walked 6 miles to open up and did offer to provide emergency childcare so essential workers could go to work - not one parent took it up, because they were unwilling to walk the same distance with their children (we have a large catchment area with only a handful of children living within 2 miles)

Foxy800 Fri 03-Dec-10 08:30:51

It is very hard. I havent worked for the last 2 days as the decision was taken out of my hands in that the boss closed the nursery I work in.Had it been open I would of been there, am very lucky to live in walking distance, although that even takes longer than it should!!). DDs school has also been closed for last 3 days but with dhs shifts if i had had been at work it would have been fine for childcare.

I personally dont see how a list for some children to go in and some not would work, hardly fair on children whos parents stay at home.

gingernutlover Fri 03-Dec-10 08:32:21

why is it unfair on stay at home parents if the school is just providing "essential childcare"?

PonceyMcPonce Fri 03-Dec-10 08:35:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gingernutlover Fri 03-Dec-10 08:47:51

how would that work for part time teachers, and teachers who live close enough but had the decision taken out of their hands?

Might cause problems with people booking hoildays too.

Also, I have been given work to do at home the last 3 days and I have had to set work for my class each day on the school's website - so would be a bit annoyed to also have some of my holidays taken away. Wouldnt mind so much if they used INSET days though.

sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 03-Dec-10 08:55:25

Foxy800 how on earth is it unfair in SAHP ?

They are not worried if the school shuts, it isn't impacting on their employability or their state of mind over how the hell they are going to make up the time.

The list idea is perfectly workable in a can-do nation supportive of the local economy. I can't see how employers would refuse to provide a letter of confirmation by say 31st October each year as it is in their interests to support their employees ability to continue working.

I got my employer to contribute a voucher offering services for free as a Christmas Bazaar raffle prize and organised another 2 such items via work contacts. I rallied work colleagues to donate a total of 6 bags of tombola/bottle stall/bric a brac goods. I've provided four Christmas play costumes (2 of them for other SAHP). I can't donate time to run a stall or hear kids read in class but I support the school as much as I can in other ways. I'm not a lightweight just after "free childcare during school hours".

I'm liking the idea of taking the extra snow days from school holidays although this would have parents booking holidays out of term time suddenly finding that they were actually having their dc miss some schooling after all.

NoahAndTheWhale Fri 03-Dec-10 09:00:19

I find the idea of a list of who works or not a bit simplistic. I work sometimes, on an ad hoc basis. Not sure how I would be classified there.

sitdownpleasegeorge Fri 03-Dec-10 09:07:26


I've brought home work to do too but with the kids at home I'm just not getting a clear quiet chunk of time to do it and I'm no spring chicken I can't burn the midnight oil anymore. I need internet access, preventing the dc from amusing themselves on the internet, I need to spread out paperwork on a table (we don't have desk/office at home) preventing them from using the table for drawing/craft work and I'm not a primary school teacher or nursery worker I need peace and quiet to think without constant interruptions. I had good intentions when I picked this work up but they are proving unworkable.

Those children who you are setting work for via the school's website are presumably being supervised (if of primary school age), fed and watered etc by a parent/carer at the other end of the internet. Once you've posted the work your job is done. Is it taking you a full 9-5 day to do that work ?

To claim a full day's work I have to have something to show for it and what I do is measurable, unless I really have put in the hours I won't be able to claim I have "worked them from home".

Foxy800 Fri 03-Dec-10 09:19:29

Sorry I wasnt clear, didnt mean it was unfair on the stay at home parents, I love extra time with my daughter(am not a full time stay at home Mum). I guess it would depend on whether they would be educating the children from the curriculum or whether it would be childcare. If childcare then would be very helpful.

gingernutlover Fri 03-Dec-10 09:21:18

fair enough point sitdown, no of course I am not spending 9-5 putting work on the internet! And I never said I was. But I am not having a days holiday either.

The idea of taking snowdays from the holidays could work I suppose, as long as there were days designated as possbible extra days at the beginning of the year - otherwise how could anyone (teachers as well as parents!) plan their holidays in advance.

Foxy800 Fri 03-Dec-10 09:21:51

I have also been bringing work home.

goingroundthebend4 Fri 03-Dec-10 09:27:52

im some states in the us they have a amount of days that are snow days .Normally 7-10 days that are flexiable along with the fixed holiday

And sorry yes im stay at home mum but if schools open for some i would send my dc why should they miss out on their education just becuase im at home.And for ds3 its essential i need teh respite he needs access to specialist staff

FunkySnowSkeleton Fri 03-Dec-10 09:28:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Foxy800 Fri 03-Dec-10 09:31:52

I can completely understand why our schools and nurseries round here are closed. Even if the staff could get this far the roads round here are like ice skating rinks!!!

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