Gove: Schools should try to stay open in snowy weather

January 22nd, 2013 Category: Educational Establishments

Thousands of schools across the country have closed as a result of snowy weather over the last few days.

This has caused plenty of problems for mums and dads, as they have had to make last-minute childcare arrangements. And some have been forced to stay off work to look after the kids, causing further disruption for employers.

Of course, schools are well within their rights to close their doors during snow, as the rules state they won't be penalised for doing so. But the government has stressed they should try to stay open if possible.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, commented: "While the decision on whether or not to remain open or closed is a matter for the headteacher, everything can and should be done in order to ensure that all children get access to a good education."

Yesterday, more than 5,000 schools around the UK were shut as a result of the bad weather, he confirmed.

So what can education institutions do in order to reduce the chances of having to close in the event of snow?

Some headteachers take the decision to shut because of travel problems in the area, as they are concerned pupils and staff will struggle to get to school safely.

However, it is true to say that concerns over pupils getting injured on site also play a part in many cases, as they fear litigation from aggrieved parents.

Schools might therefore find it a good idea to take preventative steps to improve health and safety standards and reduce the likelihood of any incidents occurring.

Simply ensuring a building is well maintained can be one good way of mitigating risk, so bringing in facilities management specialists can reap results very quickly.

And if it helps to guarantee a school is a safe environment even in snowy and icy conditions, then they are better able to get on with their core responsibility of educating our kids.

Schools need a strategy in place to cope with wintry weather safely and efficiently, so keeping their buildings in top condition is certainly a good place to start.