Schools stay shut but roads, shops and offices stay open

 

Parents have accused headteachers of failing to stand up to the snow, as hundreds of schools remained closed because of the bad weather.

Tens of thousands of children were forced to spend another day at home as fresh snow fell across the UK. Although the number of closed schools was sharply down on the 5,000 estimated to have shut at the start of the week, there was growing anger from parents forced to take time off work.

Many queried why so many schools in urban areas with good transport links have shut down when hospitals, offices and shops remain open.

One contributor to the Mumsnet site wrote: “Nurseries didn’t close. Workplaces didn’t close. Only all the local schools. I can only quote the local pre-school head when I dropped my child off: ‘Good excuse for a day off, if you can get it.’”

Another parent added: “In our area the snow really has not been bad. The roads are clear. As far as I could see, not one shop, restaurant or business was closed. But the majority of schools still took the decision to close.”

Phil Karnavas, principal of the Canterbury Academy in Kent, which has stayed open all week, said that headteachers risked giving off the impression that they were “looking for reasons” to close their schools.

He said: “We are a public service and, thus, we should serve the public. If schools close it means children are at home. If children are at home it means some parents cannot go to work. This means that they could lose money. Parents should not be inconvenienced unless there really is no option.”

But headteachers’ leaders defended their decisions to close. A spokeswoman for the National Association of Head Teachers said: “It is not that headteachers are unusually risk averse but they do have to make decisions on behalf of hundreds of children and their families. If just one child was maimed or killed by a car as it slipped on the ice around a school entrance/exit, there would – quite rightly – be questions raised.

“Do headteachers err on the side of caution more than they would if it were just their own safety to consider? Of course they do. But most of us would not have it any other way. Do schools close more often than they used to? Perhaps, but this probably reflects changes in the workplace where fewer and fewer people work within walking distance of their place of work.”

Justine Roberts, founder of the website Mumsnet, said that what angered parents most was schools being closed at very short notice.

She said: “The one thing schools could do better in some cases is to communicate more. The most stressful thing is having to make desperate last-minute childcare plans.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine