While the Education Secretary and a senior Tory MP have called on schools to resist closing in the face of snow, a headteachers’ union has said that it’s never an easy option. Now parents have joined in the debate!
As snow closed thousands of schools, Michael Gove said that ‘everything can and should be done in order to ensure that all children get access to a good education’, the BBC reports.
Fellow Tory Graham Stuart, who chairs the cross-party Commons education committee, called on schools to try and stay open, to avoid damaging children’s education and the economy through parents having to take time off work. “You’d hope that no headteacher would take it lightly. But every unnecessary closure has an impact on the child in terms of lost education, wasted money for the state and of course a tremendous knock-on impact on business.”
Speaking for headteachers, Brian Lightman from the ASCL said that school closure was never an easy option: “In some cases it will be because the children can’t get into school and the buses are being cancelled and there are no children there. In those circumstances the teachers may well be in school, working – they’re not having a day off or a holiday. In other situations it may be that the children can get into school – that’s very often the case where the children live very locally – but perhaps some of the staff who live further away or in more rural areas can’t get in.”
According to Justine Roberts from the parenting site Mumsnet, school closures can be difficult for parents but child safety has to come first: “The one thing schools could do better in some cases is to communicate more,” she said, “The most stressful thing is having to make desperate last-minute childcare plans.” One father spoke from the heart about the challenges of having to stay at home in ‘horrendous’ conditions: “All the schools round here are closed so I have a house full of kids and dogs and none of them want to go out,” senior lecturer Neil Farrington said, “We’re all stuck in the house, climbing the walls.”
Whose side of the debate are you on? Share your views with us!