Today's snow caught Wrecsam on the hop and most schools were closed due to safety concerns or the inability of teachers to make it to work. While the kids are enjoying an unexpected holiday bonus in the snow, parents are having to juggle childcare and work at the last minute.
This issue was raised in the Senedd by Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood, who expressed concern over the impact of school closures on working parents in
She wrote to Education Minister Leighton Andrews to ask whether he has any plans to issue guidance to local authorities, requesting them to plan alternative provision for school pupils in bad weather.
The letter said:
“I have received numerous representations from parents who have been deeply unhappy at the decision made by a very large number of schools in the Rhondda-Cynon-Taf county borough to close over recent days due to the bad weather.
“Whilst many parents understand that health and safety cannot be compromised, they fail to understand why it was necessary to close the schools on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th January. For many workers, taking time off can result in either the loss of pay or the loss of much-cherished holidays.
“I accept that perhaps not all teachers have been able to get to work because many roads have not been cleared, but surely, if some staff can get in, the school could be opened?
“I’d be grateful to hear whether you have any plans to issue guidance to local authorities, requesting them to plan alternative provision for school pupils in inclement weather? I’m sure that you’ll accept that many families cannot afford to lose any pay, particularly through no fault of their own, and that public bodies should do all they can to ensure minimum disruption in such circumstances.”
The situation is particularly acute for school students facing examinations and, although I know head teachers in many schools have worked hard to re-open, there do seem to be anomalies. I hope that, when the immediate problem is resolved, there is a county-wide or nationwide strategy to ensure that schools provide some kind of provision for pupils when this kind of severe weather strikes.