Over the last few weeks, we have experienced some inclement weather! Certainly, we haven’t seen snow like we experienced over the last month for a few years.
For most children, and my own two were no exception, this makes for huge excitement! There is no doubt, there is something special when we have snow in this country, probably because we don’t experience it very often; of course, there is also the prospect of a day or two off school!
For Headteachers, however, snow, or the prospect of snow that may or may not materialise, is a bit of a nightmare! As I have communicated twice this year in my letter informing parents of our arrangements for bad weather, my first priority is to keep the school open, as long as the conditions do not make it unsafe for students, parents or staff. So, when the prospect of heavy snow was forecast on Thursday 1 March, I spent the previous day and evening constantly checking the met office forecast, which changed from hour to hour! I then liaised with my colleagues at local schools, especially Mrs Summerfield at HTC, to coordinate our strategy. For the morning of the Thursday, no snow fell so there was no reason to shut the site. However, the forecast was for snow about 3pm, which meant we felt it was prudent to shut at lunchtime. We were then able to give parents lots of notice of our intentions and make a quick decision that school would be shut on Friday 2 March.
On reflection, we got the decision 100% correct and the feedback I have had from parents and staff supports this. There is nothing worse than making a decision too early and finding that the snow doesn’t materialise; I know some schools shut for the whole of Thursday even though there was no sign! Last week, although it snowed on the Saturday and on Sunday, the site was perfectly safe on the Monday and it was reasonable to open. There was therefore no reason to contact parents and we enjoyed a perfectly normal school day.
So, you can understand that I hope we have seen the last of winter and I look forward to children in June asking me if we can shut the school because it is too hot!