Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009
UK prepares for freezing weekend

Caerphilly, where four schools remained closed

Many of the 6,000 schools across the country which shut for two days because of snow and ice have reopened.

But more than 200 schools remained closed across Wales, with the worst-hit area being the south Wales valleys.

The Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council area had 65 primary and 26 secondary schools shut because of treacherous roads.

Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr and Caerphilly had to close 35, 22 and 20 schools respectively as much of Tuesday's snow caused continuing problems.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) said Surrey was the only area in England significantly affected by the conditions, with 77 closures.

Gloucestershire also remained badly hit, with 36 schools closed, while 19 kept their gates shut in Wiltshire.

Pick-up points

Problems lingered in Hampshire, with 16 schools completely closed for the day and six opening later than normal.

In the home counties of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, things were much better, with only heating problems forcing the closure of a handful of schools in each county.

But some school coaches in Hertfordshire were not able to reach normal pick-up points.

There were 12 school and college closures across the West Midlands but just three in nearby Hereford and Worcestershire.

Schools will be expected to open but will follow guidance procedures to make any local decisions that may be necessary
Bradford District Council statement
In Oxfordshire, only three of the 40 schools closed on Tuesday kept their gates shut, while 14 schools were shut in Cornwall - a big reduction from the 233 which were closed on Tuesday.

There were thought to be only 13 school closures across Birmingham, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley, and South Staffordshire.

Two schools in Lincolnshire closed because of broken boilers, four were closed in Kent and two in Leicester, Rutland and Leicestershire.

Many schools in London had been closed on both Monday and Tuesday, but most were functioning normally on Wednesday.

In north London, Barnet Council said it was largely business as usual, although one school, Oak Lodge, was partially closed, while two secondary schools opened late.

Gas leaks

In the south, the borough of Merton had two schools closed because there was no heating.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council in west London had just one closure (Fulham Primary), while in the east, Newham Council expected all schools to function as normal.

The situation was also improving in the north of England

In Bradford, which had a total closure on Tuesday, the district council said: "Schools will be expected to open but will follow guidance procedures to make any local decisions that may be necessary because of variations in geography and climate."

In Northumberland, another area which suffered significantly on Tuesday, only three schools there were closed, because of gas leaks.

Nearby Durham reported that seven schools were closed, but none directly as a result of bad weather.

A high-voltage cable fault had left thousands of homes and businesses without electricity in the area.

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