Snow brings extra day's holiday for pupils

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Thousands of school children enjoyed an extra day's holiday today as dozens of schools were shut due to the wintry weather.

Local authorities confirmed 19 closures in Northumberland, 13 in Lancashire and 12 in Durham.

Seven schools were also shut in North Yorkshire due to weather and heating problems and one in Staffordshire due to conditions on local roads.

A spokesman for Cumbria County Council said pupils were not due back until tomorrow but one teacher training day had been cancelled.

He said: "We're working hard to grit primary routes and minimise disruption.

"The conditions vary across the county. Some places are quite icy while others only have minor problems.

"We are advising people to listen to local radio updates and take care on dangerous routes."

Schools in Scotland were closed today for a public holiday and some are expected to remain shut tomorrow, with 20 centimetres of snow forecast in some areas.

It means an extra long break for pupils and staff, after some schools closed early for the Christmas holiday.

Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather arm of the Press Association, said the wintry weather would move south in the next few days.

He said: "The bad snow will continue in Scotland tonight and early tomorrow with Lincolnshire and London also seeing snow by Wednesday."