Today, I had to make the very difficult decision to keep the school closed for a second day – Tuesday 12th December.
To be perfectly honest, I had absolutely no intention of a second day of closure –it hasn’t snowed at all today and we have the Y1/2 Christmas production performances tomorrow – both good reasons to expect we would be open. I decided to drive up to school this afternoon to double check that the roads were clear enough, - leaving it as late as possible to have allowed for maximum thawing. My intention was to then confirm the decision on the website and to re-assure staff that the roads around school were safe.
Entering Blackheath was like entering Narnia – I couldn’t believe that the roads didn’t appear to have been gritted or cleared all day. I live in a small village in Worcestershire and the roads have been cleared, gritted and are virtually snow free. I had a relatively easy drive until I got within a mile or so of Hurst Green - I then passed several cars stuck on the edge of the road and witnessed a car sliding sideways down a sloping road whilst children were walking up in the opposite direction. I am also told that there had been a couple of accidents on Narrow Lane and Long Lane during the day. Although most children will be able to walk to school, some children, and most staff, need to drive. The local roads, as they are at the moment, are not safe for anything but essential journeys. With temperatures due to plummet overnight, the snow left on the roads will freeze, making them even more treacherous than they were this afternoon.
I was extremely disappointed by the state of the local roads and I have already emailed Dudley MBC to express my feeling of disappointment that I have to close a school purely because of the state of the surrounding streets. I contemplated waiting until the morning to re-assess, but given the forecast of freezing temperatures, I came to the conclusion that it was unlikely that there would be an improvement and I would then be in the position of having to close the school in the morning, putting parents in a far more difficult situation than having the heads up today.
As far as the Y1/2 Christmas production is concerned, we will be organising alternative performance times tomorrow and we will email Y1/2 parents as soon as times have been clarified with staff. Once again, apologies for the inconvenience that this will have caused.
As far as the school site is concerned, we are in a fortunate position of being able to all enter through the main front door if necessary, making site clearance more manageable. Thank you to the parents who have offered to come and help to clear the snow from the site.
Closing the school certainly wasn’t an easy decision, particularly being a parent myself and knowing the inconvenience these things cause, but I do believe that it was the right decision under the circumstances. I discussed the situation in detail with the Chair of Governors and we were both in agreement.
Some of you will agree, some of you will disagree, that’s the nature of the beast, but children and staff will all be safe as a result.
With best wishes,