Principal’s Blog, Friday 8th February 2019, Snow – Challenges, opportunities and good old simple fun!February 8th, 2019
The risk of snow normally evokes in head teachers the prospect of being dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.
Keep the school open and be criticised for putting students and staff in danger as they try to get safely into school and then navigate the site. Close and be criticised for forcing students to miss their education and creating child care problems for parents. Make the decision too early and the weather might change, make it too late and you prevent people from arranging their own plans.
Even if the weather in Milton Keynes is reasonable, you need to be aware of massive local variations as our 150+ staff come from a radius of around 40 miles, of course the weather in Luton can be very different from Kettering.
One of the worst situations is when you have the school full and the prospect of snow suddenly increases and you need to consider everyone getting home and closing the school before 3.15pm can create extra stress for some of our students getting picked up. Of course we reduce the risks by having safe systems of work and communicating with other local schools.
The snowfall last Thursday evening was a difficult one for Hazeley. Northampton had hardly any snow, Milton Keynes had a reasonable layer, enough to make getting out of some of the estates tricky, while South Buckinghamshire had a number of roads blocked and schools closed, making things difficult for many of our staff, we had the added challenge of having our site supervisor absent.
However, one of the best things about adversity is how it can bring the best out in people, by 7am we had a group of staff volunteers clearing the car park and paths, we were then joined by some enthusiastic students. Many staff volunteered to do extra duties at break and lunchtime to allow students to either have fun playing with snow balls on the back playground or enjoy some fresh air in the other outside spaces without the risk of being caught in the crossfire. The absolute joy on the faces of some of the students really was something to behold, staff put their other activities on hold and in doing so created opportunities to chat with each other and the students. It ended up being a pretty special day.
A good lesson on how often in life, opportunists often come along dressed up as challenges.