Schools to remain closed as petrol deliveries resume

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of schools were closed yesterday as the fuel crisis continued to affect the education system in England and Wales. The position is likely to worsen next week, with at least one council expecting more than 100 of its schools to be out of action on Monday.

Hundreds of schools were closed yesterday as the fuel crisis continued to affect the education system in England and Wales. The position is likely to worsen next week, with at least one council expecting more than 100 of its schools to be out of action on Monday.

The Department for Education and Employment said 160 primary, secondary and special schools in 40 English local authority areas had shut, while in Wales 24 schools failed to open in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Up to 100,000 pupils may have enjoyed an extra holiday just days into the new academic year because of the crisis. The Education Department played down its impact, saying 99 per cent of England's 24,000 schools were still open and should continue as normal next week.

Wakefield District Council in West Yorkshire said more than 100 schools in the area were planning to close on Monday, with most expected to be shut on Tuesday as well.

John McLeod, the chief education officer, said Wakefield had faced "severe problems" over fuel: "Many of our teachers live a considerable distance from the schools where they work. We are putting the health, safety and welfare of children first," he added.

In Rhondda Cynon Taff, 18 secondary and five primary schools, and one special school were closed. About 20,000 of the area's secondary pupils have now had three days off.

Warwickshire County Council said 21 of its schools were closed and that this figure could grow to 50 by Monday, depending on how quickly transport operators can refuel.

Ten schools have now closed in Essex, but the county council expects another to be added to the list by Monday. Gloucestershire County Council said eight schools in its area were shut yesterday and reported that the figure was likely to rise to 10 by Monday.

Birmingham said four schools - two primary and two special schools - were closed, up from two on Thursday, because of transport problems for staff and pupils.

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