Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Schools: Open or closed?

Thousands of children are affected by school closures in England, Wales and Scotland after more heavy snowfalls.

School sign
Tim Knowles sent in this picture taken near St Ivo School in St Ives, Cambs

Worst hit is Wales where 600 schools have shut. More heavy snowfall is expected in parts of central and southern England by Friday morning.

You have been emailing to say whether you think schools should remain open in the bad weather, or close.

Here is a selection of your comments

SCHOOLS SHOULD STAY OPEN

My daughter's school is closed even though all main roads are clear, I can't help but wonder if it's a matter of the teachers enjoying a paid day off!
Sarah Tickhill , Newcastle Under Lyme

Obviously my son's head teacher is made of sterner stuff! Our primary school has been open right the way through, whereas our two High Schools - which are minutes away - have both been closed! Where is the logic? We have a sprinkling of snow and the country stops!
Judy Seddon, Cardiff, South Wales

In the 1930s I was never once off school because of bad weather, and we did have far worse in the way of snow than we do these days. Nor in the 50s was my wife. In those days we all coped, teachers as well. Today it seems no-one is able to do this, thanks perhaps to so-called "health and safety". At the slightest excuse stay at home! I do fear for the future of this once great country unless people acquire a very different mindset.
R Bovill, Launceston, Cornwall

When everyone else tries to get to work and be productive in the current economic turmoil it is ridiculous that schools are awarding themselves extra days off. For every day that a school closes its budget should be cut pro-rata and the money saved returned to the local tax payers who are supporting that school. If an honest person can get to work and do their job safely then so can the teachers. In the current situation this attitude shows how safe the education system thinks it is. Perhaps a few redundancies would help to separate the wheat from the chaff. Everyone else has them.
John Smith, Derby

It's daft how the schools are closing. Everyone else has to go to work, myself included. When I was at school the teachers would come in regardless of the weather, we teach our children not to skive off school then the teachers force them to stay at home because of snow. My daughter missed an important test this week. Get some backbone I say.
Vanessa Blackmore, St Albans, Hertfordshire

SCHOOLS SHOULD STAY SHUT

We think school should be shut as it is icy and slippery. We think it is dangerous as the stairs are wet and people keep slipping up! There is not even grit on the pavements into school. This is a danger and hazard and a huge health and safety issue.
Sarah And Emma And Natalie, Fordingbridge Burgate school

Overturned vehicle
Paul Oxley took this picture of his work van in Meltham, Huddersfield

Shutting schools when the all the advice is not to travel unless absolutely necessary is the only sensible option. We will all stop lauding the schools that remain open the minute a child, parent or teacher is killed trying to get to school in what can only be described as dangerous conditions.
Cathy Salter, Shropshire

I've decided not to send my children into school today - their schools managed to stay open during the snow so far and they're not on the list for closure so far today. They all attend different schools and there is no way I'm getting the car out today and the pavements are horrendous! Traffic outside my house is virtually standing still - so we'll be staying at home watching DVDs and drinking hot chocolate!
Julia, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire

TEACHERS VIEWS

I think safety should come first. Parents struggling to bring their children into school on roads that are treacherous cannot possibly be in the best interests of the children (or the driver). When conditions are icy the level of risk to the children walking to school also increases. One of the boys in my form (year 10) slipped on the way to school yesterday, straight into the path of oncoming traffic. He was very lucky to escape, shaken up but unhurt. Our school is shut today and I fully agree with the decision made by our head master. I know there will be parents that disagree with this choice, but they would soon condemn a decision to stay open if a child was badly hurt or killed trying to make their way into school; especially considering the police are stating that we should only travel if it is totally unavoidable.
Mrs Wendy Saville, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

As a teaching assistant in a secondary school, I think it was definitely sensible to close school today. The roads were awful, and buses and cars would have found it extremely difficult to get to schools. It would have also been dangerous for the students walking to school. Anyway the kids would have missed a great opportunity to play in the snow, we don't get that much. It will just mean the students will have to work much harder when they get back. Enjoy it while you can kids.
Janet Fellows, Rugby

I am a teacher at a large Leicestershire Upper School, frustrated by the recent school closures. Our College has an excellent record of staying open but has reluctantly closed today for students. This poses little problem to parents as students from 14 to 19 Years of age are capable of staying at home unsupervised. Primary and High Schools are a different matter, causing untold inconvenience to parents when closed. My point is this: why can't qualified teachers report to local schools for duty (keeping them open) following closure of their own schools? This system could be rolled out across the county with teachers allocated to local schools based upon their postcode.
Nigel Jones, Leicester

I am a teacher that lives 20 miles outside of the town I teach in. I live in a village which the gritters are not frequenting. The local main roads were all reported to be either closed or blocked, and there were so many accidents reported, that they were telling people not to drive. However, the schools are open, and therefore teachers have been trying to get to school. They have risked their lives and taken up to three times as long to actually get to school, only to discover that half the other teachers haven't made it in yet (most are stuck on roads), and nor have half the students. Lessons have been postponed because there aren't enough staff yet. Classes have been merged together and are waiting in their tutor rooms until lessons are able to start. There is no education taking place.
Amber, Andover, Hampshire



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