Teachers hit back at snow criticism

St George's High School had limited opening due to the snow.
St George's High School had limited opening due to the snow.

A SCHOOL boss has hit back at critics who blasted a decision to close it due to snow.

Seven Fylde coast high schools and one primary school across the Fylde closed early on Monday because of the weather, leading to negative comments on The Gazette website slamming the decision by headteachers to let children leave school.

Most of the schools opened as usual yesterday, with only St George’s High in Marton, remaining closed after a problem with the boiler, caused by the freezing weather, left half the school’s classrooms without heat.

Pupils studying for their GCSEs in Years 10 and 11 were asked to come into school for 10am and were allowed to leave at 1pm.

Those sitting a science exam were in school for 8.30am, and pupils in Years Seven to Nine stayed at home, but were expected to work.

The Cherry Tree Road school’s business manager Matt McIver said: “We initially made the decision on Monday to remain closed because of the ice around the site and because of a heating failure.

“We were concerned about the safety of the pupils. A lot of the pathways in and around the school were still treacherous yesterday morning.

“We were able to clear the ice from around the school, but 29 classrooms were without heating while we had a joint in the boiler repaired.”

Mr McIver said the school staff started gritting as the snow fell at 6.30am on Monday, but the salt had no effect. His comments have been backed up by the Blackpool secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, Andy Mellor.

The St Nicholas Primary School headteacher defended the decisions to close schools, or send pupils home early in the snow.

He added: “Unfortunately the

bottom line is headteachers

find themselves custodians of pupils. If a school opens up it only takes one person to fall on the ice or snow and put a claim in, which would hit the school budget to the tune of £4,000 to £6,000.

“That money doesn’t come from a council pot. It comes straight from the school budget.

“Headteachers are aware of the implications of closing a school, and they do not take the decision lightly.”

Collegiate High School, Blackpool, Highfield Humanities College, South Shore, Palatine Community Sports College, also South Shore, Montgomery High School, Bispham, St Mary’s Catholic High School, Blackpool, Carr Hill High School, Kirkham, and Christ The King Primary School, Grange Park, all closed early as a result of the weather.