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.

Lots of teachers travel quite a way so I guess they shut to let them get home in all fairness.

HeathRobinson Fri 18-Jan-13 10:35:09

Well back then, most kids would have gone to their local school, within walking distance.

I was just musing yesterday, that if we'd continued to have winters like those in the 60s, you would not have the choice of schools as you do today. Everyone would see it as sensible that you went to the local school.

Madmog Fri 18-Jan-13 10:40:09

Good question. When my daughter was at primary school and it closed, she usually had to walk past the school to come to Tescos with me or to visit a friend. If the school is out in the country I can well understand why they close as some areas do get cut off.

Today the comprehensive school is closed here but primary schools open so it doesn't make sense. Hubby got to work ok (admittedly we've had more snow since then) so there's no way most teachers couldn't make their way in. Neighbours are elderly and like to shop at a store the other side of town (must be mad when Tescos in on the doorstep) and they have just got back safely

Lafaminute Fri 18-Jan-13 10:42:28

Our schools only close if there's a problem with heating or water (eg frozen pipes) but then we don't have any snow and rarely get any envy

discorabbit Fri 18-Jan-13 10:42:54

i went to school in the 70s and we stayed at home for snow days. (or went home early)

discorabbit Fri 18-Jan-13 10:43:24

was probably more related to boilers breaking thinking about it grin

DeepRedBetty Fri 18-Jan-13 10:44:50

As I said on another snow thread last night, catchment for our school is nearly thirty miles in diameter, and a lot of the teachers live even further. I've watched two Transits slide in a stately way down the hill past the house in the past hour, and am extremely glad none of us have to drive anywhere.

I think schools have always closed in the Snow, I remember Mum to listen to the local radio when I was a child as they use to list the closeurs.

Hulababy Fri 18-Jan-13 10:50:08

Schools in Yorkshire def had snow closures in 70s. I remember snow days.

These days more teachers live further away from the schools they teach at. Similarly more children go to school further away from home. There is more traffic in roads and more children driven to school, often as a result of more families having two working parents. Increased traffic often means roads are worse. Also there is less gritting that occurs due to decreasing budgets.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 10:51:31

I suspect two factors are at play

People seem to commute further to work , including teachers
Children do not necessarily attend their local school.

We are closed today because we rely on bus companies to get most of our students into school, the bus companies are not taking students in.

Our school was open today for exams , I have been into school - I walked as it was not wide to drive - and have been in school since 7:30 this morning. I havr just come home.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Jan-13 10:51:58

Families are much more likely to live within walking distance of their primary school so the primary school being open but the secondary being shut makes perfect sense.
If school buses can't run, then kids can't get to school. If snow is forecast throughout the day then even if kids can get in, there's a chance they can't get home. What then?
My school used to open even when other schools were closed. The teachers would struggle in, most of the kids wouldn't and it was an utter shambles. The kids who were in were resentful because their mates were at home and were thus disinclined to do anything worthwhile and it was a waste of everybody's time and put people in the position of travelling in dangerous conditions. Not worth it. Besides, most secondary kids should be able to entertain themselves at home so it shouldn't affect parents too much.

Bramshott Fri 18-Jan-13 10:53:50

I think part of it is that they're not allowed to double up classes the way they would have in the past.

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 10:54:21

I am frustrated that our primary school is shut because I know that a number of staff live locally as do the children. They could also use staff from the secondary who live local. I phoned the primary and LEA yesterday to say I lived up the road from the primary school.

Wolfiefan Fri 18-Jan-13 10:56:25

Risk of being sued if kids or teachers injured? (You'd be amazed!)

aimum Fri 18-Jan-13 10:57:45

Our school closes if too many teachers cannot get in, or more importantly, if the school has no food for school dinners.

AmberLeaf Fri 18-Jan-13 10:58:24

People say about school staff living further etc but lots of people have to travel far to get to work, but they still have to go in if it snows.

If boilers break down fair enough, but is that common?

AmberLeaf Fri 18-Jan-13 10:59:47

I can understand it more in rural areas though, I have family who live in the country and today lots of local B roads have been closed off totally so that would have an impact.

YokoUhOh Fri 18-Jan-13 11:00:11

Arisbottle is right, it's bus companies who make the decision for the schools. If a critical mass of students can't get in, the school closes.

lastsaloonNelson Fri 18-Jan-13 11:01:58

Because closing a school looks better for the attendance numbers demanded by Offsted. If you keep your school open and only half the pupils show up the rest of them are noted as absent. If you close your school this doesn't happen.
This has nothing to do with anyone being concerned about your child's safety but everything with number crunching and appearances.
Also teachers seem to be driving special cars that can not possibly move on the slightest snow flake.
My teacher friends were all over Facebook this morning bemoaning the fact their school hadn't closed yet.... O Dear,fancy having to go to work to do the job they are paid for..... Shame,no long weekend for you guys yet.With a bit of luck it will be there on Monday still.
If we all gave in as quick as a lot of schools/teachers (NOT ALL,I know) do, the whole world would come to a grinding halt at the first sign of snow/any adverse weather.
What an example to give to your pupils,at the first sign of potential trouble/difficulty you give up instead of trying to find a way around the problem. I much prefer to adopt a 'can-do' attitude.

soverylucky Fri 18-Jan-13 11:03:26

I do think that a system could be organised where teachers register with their local school. I work in a school over 20 miles away but there are primary schools and a few secondary schools near where I live. However - no meaningful teaching would be done if I went and offered my services at the local primary - I don't know the first thing about primary education. I would in effect be a childminder for the day.

DS goes to a SN school. Mostly learning difficulties but some physical as well.
They close for the children's safety and because some of the children and staff come from miles around to go to this school.

It's safer to close than risk them getting stranded in severe weather.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Jan-13 11:04:21

I was under the impression that CRB checks and insurance were school-specific so secondary teachers couldn't simply waltz into a primary school anyway?

Mu51cal Fri 18-Jan-13 11:05:09

I've just spent an hour in my car trying to drive into work (normally a 25min commute) as our school had gcse exams today and we were all keen for school to remain open... However I physically couldn't get my car up a hill about 5 miles from school... I ended up in a ditch as my wheels just spun out from beneath my trying to get up this sodding hill... About 50% of our staff commute in from outside of the town and were just not able to get in safely... There HAS to be a certain ratio of staff to pupils so the school had to close. It makes me really cross when people complain about schools closing when I know first hand how much effort goes in behind the scenes to try to ensure we stay open... Sorry to rant, but I'm still rather shaken up after my ridiculously dangerous journey... sad

Arisbottle Fri 18-Jan-13 11:05:21

lastsaloon I work in a rural area in which it was probably not safe to drive so I walked in as did quite a few staff. Not fair to suggest all teachers lack a "can do" attitude.

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