Snowbound teachers could be asked to drift to nearest schools in future

16th July 2010 at 01:00

Teachers who cannot get to work because of bad weather could be asked to work at their nearest school instead, under new plans.

Leighton Andrews, the education minister, has announced a raft of measures in reaction to the widespread disruption caused by last winter's snowy weather.

Mr Andrews will discuss with unions whether snowbound teachers should be requested to attend their nearest school.

The minister also announced that two additional teacher training days would be kept next year and held in the summer term. However, if teaching time is lost to bad weather this winter they will be reduced to one or none to compensate.

On average, schools closed for four days because of bad weather last winter, but practice varied across Wales, with some remaining open and others closing for a fortnight.

Mr Andrews said current policy around school attendance statistics might encourage heads to close schools because no allowance is made for poor attendance caused by bad weather if the school stays open.

"I do not want schools to be shut and pupils' education curtailed in order to protect a statistic," said Mr Andrews.

So from this autumn schools can record pupils unable to attend during bad weather as "not required to attend" rather than an "authorised absence".

Mr Andrews said: "I am confident that this will mean that more schools will stay open in bad weather."

Further guidance on the legal liabilities of heads and governors on decisions over whether or not to close schools in bad weather will be released later this year.

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