The snow must go on

25th January 2013 at 00:00
Teachers work despite weather

Many schools remained open this week in conditions that previously might have led to closures.

Local authorities' new approaches to combating extreme weather, devised after the heaviest snowfall for decades in 2010, were tested as the east of Scotland bore the brunt of freezing conditions.

The Scottish government said that 5 per cent of schools in Scotland were shut on Tuesday, the closures concentrated in areas including Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Moray and the Borders.

Scottish Borders Council activated its "resilient schools procedures" for the first time, which lead to teachers heading to schools within walking distance.

Education director Glenn Rodger explained that new staff members were now allocated a "resilient" school - within 1.5 miles of their home - for when they could not reach their usual place of work.

Staff and a manager arrive to run each school in times of extreme weather; they will have visited the school and met pupils beforehand.

Mr Rodger said the council now had "a much clearer picture" of which schools could be kept open, or partially open, when bad weather hit.

Only 11 Borders schools were closed on Monday, and nine on Tuesday, out of 72 in total, compared with blanket closures in 2010. A spokesman said this week's conditions might previously have resulted in a blanket closure.

Staff at closure-hit schools in other parts of Scotland also headed to nearby schools. One Perth-based secondary physics teacher, Steven Wilkinson, revealed on Twitter that, having been unable to reach his own school, he ended up teaching a P6 class.

John Stodter, general secretary of education directors' body ADES, said the impact of 2010 on authorities less used to extreme weather had resulted in ADES guidance to improve procedures around the country.

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk.

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