Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

15th January 2010 at 00:00
Teachers across the country turned the weather into an educational experience

Brixham CofE Primary South Devon

Staff used 4x4 vehicles to plough through the snow. The school hasn't shut, delighting pupils who have been throwing snowballs and making snowmen. One six-year-old, unused to this weather, told teachers: "I waited for this all my life."

Year 4 teacher Marie Tyrrell has been bringing an overnight bag to work in case she can't make the trip home to Exeter.

Year 6 teacher Jason Keenan opted to make the 14-mile, half-hour journey home and luckily only "hurt his pride" when he pranged his car.

Headteacher Mel Easter wanted to keep the school open for the local community. Most children walk there daily. "When parents rang us up to ask if we were open, we could hear hoorays in the background from pupils," she said.

Snow has become a teaching resource at the school, with pupils producing poetry, artwork and using it for science lessons.

Sheldon School Wiltshire

Headteacher Gerard MacMahon had to be towed to school by a parent after his car broke down while he was on the way in to set up exams.

On his arrival, he arranged for staff and students at Sheldon School in Chippenham, Wiltshire, to be given hot bacon and sausage rolls and hot drinks.

Mr MacMahon has also signed up to Twitter in an effort to keep children and parents aware of the snow situation.

"It's been so useful, I can send messages from home and it's much more detailed than only using the radio," he said. "I can give parents a full explanation as to why the school is closed."

Sheldon was only open for exam students as the latest flurry of snow hit the area this week. Around a quarter of the teaching staff made it in, but all the invigilators live locally and children were able to sit papers without any hitches.

Heathfield Primary Bolton

David Mitchell is aware that some people may think he was a bit sad, staying up until 2am to plan an online lesson.

But the Year 6 teacher and deputy head said: "It was such a buzz, I didn't want to finish until I had it sorted."

The school's first foray into virtual learning began last week when pupils had an extended holiday thanks to 12 inches of snow.

Mr Mitchell said: "We texted parents to tell them to keep a look out at the school blog for online activities. I contacted other teachers on Twitter to ask for ideas."

The result was a whole-school writing project about a melting snowman, plus a Year 6 lesson on measuring the snow and another on descriptive vocabulary.

The lessons attracted 20 out of 30 of his pupils, with comments ranging from "the trees look as soft as fur" to "I love these lessons - ever since Mr Mitchell came everything has changed in an awfully good way!"

Cantley Primary Norfolk

At Cantley Primary School, not one day has been missed. Despite snowfall, which shut many schools in the area, the school has stayed open.

Chris Aitken, Year 56 teacher at the 73-pupil school, said: "The snow was a couple of inches deep, so we had quite a few parents phone up to ask if we were open and we said yes. The parents were really pleased."

The playground was too slippery for the children to play on, but the field was fine. By gritting pathways the children could get to the field to play at break and lunchtimes.

There was also an outdoor maths lesson for the Year 1 and Year 2 children, who made snowballs and used them to practise counting in twos.

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