The Dilema

To shut or not to shut? That is the question
Whether to have them in to send them home
Or suffer the slings and arrows of parents and LAs

 The well-heralded snow arrived as they said it would but for many Head teachers there was still a problem yesterday morning. Should they close the school or keep it open? Gone are the days when the Head would live next door to the school. Nowadays, they, like their staff can live a distance so when snow arrives, it is often down to the caretaker to be on hand giving an eye witness account to help the decision.

Let’s assume that staff are able to get in and there is a safe ratio of adults to children for the school day to go ahead. As Irvin Berlin tells us ‘There maybe trouble ahead’!

Snow is a great addition to the curriculum and I for one feel that children should be able to get out in it and do some learning that they (in many areas) rarely get the chance to do. However, that is not always accepted by parents who do not want their children out in the cold getting wet.

Then there are the Health and Safety police. What happens if a child slips and hurts themselves? Has the Head made sure that all the paths leading to school have been cleared ? Is the caretaker watching constantly for a drop in temperature to turn that wonderful fluffy stuff into an ice rink?

Then it snows again! The Head has to turn their consideration to their staff and getting them home safely. So the decision is made to close the school early. Thanks to modern technology with texts most can be contacted but there is often one or two stragglers left which mean the Head’s journey home is later and more dangerous than it might be.

If the decision to close had been taken at 7.30am, what might the results have been? Grumbles from some parents for the inconvenience whilst others are grateful not to have to leave the warmth of home. I once also had a letter from my Local Authority telling me that as I had closed the school and lost the children a days learning, I would be expected to find another day (taken from holidays) to make it up!

So, there is no right way to deal with snow. If you are a Head, what did you do? If you are a parent, did you agree with the decision taken? What about Monday?!

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