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School Opening (Bad Weather)

Volume 575: debated on Monday 10 February 2014

Our Department’s clear view is that head teachers should keep schools open during adverse weather conditions unless it is really not possible to do so. Our advice to schools makes it clear that they now have a great deal of flexibility to work creatively; for example, bringing together classes with teachers and volunteers working together.

When schools are closed owing to adverse weather conditions, that has a knock-on effect on other public sector provision, as well as on small businesses, as parents who are unable to arrange alternative child care are unable to go to work themselves. For local authority schools, will the Minister make clear whether it is the responsibility of head teachers or the local authority, or a combination of both, that schools remain open?

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend’s views, and I know that he has taken a keen interest in this issue. It is a responsibility for all individual schools and head teachers to keep their schools open in adverse weather conditions. The Department has issued clear guidance. We are conscious that the unnecessary closure of schools causes disruption to children’s education, and to parents and to the economy.