Page last updated at 17:08 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010

School criticises snow absentees

Polegate School
Polegate School was not among the hundreds in Sussex which closed

The head teacher of an East Sussex primary school has criticised parents who kept their children at home during last week's snow.

Polegate School was open, with teachers driving for up to two hours from as far away as Brighton, and others walking the four miles from Eastbourne.

But on Thursday, 139 of the school's 395 pupils stayed away.

"Some families unreasonably exploited the weather to suit themselves," Clive Hale said in a letter to parents.

"Children who live within sight of the school have been 'unable to make the journey'," he added.

"Other families have honestly and openly admitted staying off from school to go sledging.

"This is totally unacceptable."

Half-full classes

Across East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, some 450 schools were closed for three days because of the snow.

But Mr Hale paid tribute to his teachers who had created "stunning" starts to the school term only to find their plans grinding to a halt in half-full classes.

"This is extremely frustrating for the staff and parents," he said.

Lewes MP Norman Baker backed the school's stance.

"There was a reasonable expectation that those children who could get in should have got in," he said.

"I'm afraid that across the country what we have seen is far too many people regarding the snow event as an unofficial holiday."

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Clive Hale says that if children could get out to go sledging, they could have got to school.



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