One last burst of heavy snow expected tomorrow as thousands take a 'snowday' with nearly 5,000 schools closed and commuters facing travel chaos

Thousands of children got an extra day off as 4,800 schools remained closed across the country

One last burst of heavy snow is expected across parts of Britain tomorrow before an expected relief from the blizzard conditions of the last four days.

With much of the country snowbound, thousands of schools closed and transport services struggling to cope today, tomorrow will be difficult once again as heavy snowfalls hit regions as far apart as South Wales and Northern Scotland.

Some of the heaviest falls will be caused by a westerly low-pressure system bringing moist warm air from the Atlantic, which will meet the solid mass of cold air from the east which has held Britain in its grip for most of the last week. Where the two clash, over South Wales and parts of Central and South-West England, as much as five centimetres of the white stuff can be expected once again.

North East Scotland and parts of the Pennines may be even worse hit with up to 10 cms and blizzards over high ground – but from Wednesday, conditions are likely to become more settled, although ice will continue to cause havoc for the rest of the week, with temperatures likely to remain substantially below the seasonal average.

Today, after what had largely been a snow-filled weekend, there was widespread travel chaos, with many rail services and flights suspended or cancelled, including flights from London’s Heathrow Airport, which lost about ten per cent of its services, while other airports including Gatwick and Birmingham also experienced disruptions.

Eurostar said snow and ice in the UK and northern France were leading to speed restrictions and delays on all its cross-Channel trains. Six services were also cancelled, with customers told they could exchange their tickets for another date, while Virgin Trains, First Capital Connect, Southeastern, Southern and South West Trains all experienced disruption.

Road travel was equally difficult, with two major roads across the Pennines, the A628 Woodhead Pass and the A66 between Brough and Bowes, closed because of snow drifts; in Northumbria, the Army was called out to rescue passengers in two stranded buses.

Many accidents were reported in the icy conditions.  The AA said that today was one of the busiest days for call-outs this winter, at more than 17,000: breakdowns were being reported at a rate of around 2,000 an hour, with the busiest areas the Midlands, London, and the South West and South East of England. The company said that one of its own 4x4 patrol vehicles was written off in Surrey after it went too fast round a bend and skidded on ice.

There were a number of fatalities in the white-out, including a woman believed to have frozen to death after collapsing as she walked home from a night out through deep snow in Kent. Bernadette Lee, 25, was discovered in the front garden of the house next to her sister's in Deal: police said they were looking at the possibility that Ms Lee got into difficulties as she made her way home.

In Scotland, the fourth person killed in an avalanche in Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands at the weekend was named by police as Rachel Majumdar, 29, a doctor working at Harrogate District Hospital in North Yorkshire. She was originally from Merseyside and was most recently living in Leeds, Northern Constabulary said.

Not least of the weather disruption today was being experienced in schools:  nearly 5,000, one in six,  remained closed across the UK, and around a million pupils had an extra day a result of the snow - with some missing crucial GCSE and A-level exams.

Those who missed exams are being told they can ask for special consideration - which could lead to them being awarded grades on the basis of work already done or predictions of their expected.

Exam boards were adamant that rescheduling today’s papers was “not an option”. That could put in question the integrity of the system since  schools would already have had access to the papers.

Meanwhile, one headteacher, Martin Stott, of the old Hall prep school for four-to-11-year-olds in Wellington, Telford, said he felt “a sense of duty” to remain open.

“If I close, many parents can make alternative arrangements  and keep their children home but many can’t,” he said.  “If I ask doctors to come and collect their kids or keep them at home lists get cancelled.”

Some primary schools in Yorkshire were operating a scheme whereby teachers could report for duty at the school nearest their home if they could not get to their usual place of employment,

The Department for Education said schools needed “to continue to provide an education whenever feasible”.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association for School and College Leaders - which represents secondary school heads, said: “No headteacher takes the decision to close their school lightly.  Whilst heads will do everything they can to keep the school open, the key consideration has to be their ability to ensure the safety of students.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific