May 23 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
ONE village school that did manage to defy the wintry weather and remain open yesterday was Tattingstone Primary School.
Headteacher Beverley Derrett said that thanks to good preparation by her staff and the hard work of the on-site caretaker yesterday morning, the school had been able to open to pupils from 10am.
Mrs Derrett said that she had sent texts to parents to keep them informed and had contacted all staff on Sunday night - as well as heads from neighbouring schools - to tell them to come in for a later start.
She said: “We are fortunate that most of our staff do live within a reasonable distance and can get in and don’t have to travel a long distance and as a village school most of the pupils come from the locality.
“We have an excellent site manager who has managed to clear the pathways for us. He’s been working hard since goodness knows what time this morning to get all the paths between the buildings clear and part of the playground as well.
“I was in contact with the teachers last night and proposed a slightly later opening time so they didn’t have to be up and clearing ice from their cars at 7am. It’s all about being prepared and we are prepared.”
Mrs Derrett has been in charge at Tattingstone for two years and said she had never had to close due to bad weather. She added: “We have 70 children in three classes and have part-time teachers. We made sure on Friday that, knowing the bad weather was coming, we had got every parent’s contact details.
“As a head you have got to make the right decision for your school. It’s no good opening the school to children if the site is not safe.
“These mornings are the worst for heads.”
Mrs Derrett liaised over the weekend with heads at nearby Shotley and Holbrook primary schools to gauge their response to the weather - all three opened yesterday.
“It’s nice to have the back-up of everybody else and it’s nice to have that sharing of ideas,” she said. “I think parents, particularly those who have got to get to work, are relieved that we are opening but then there are others who, if they want to stay at home, don’t want the hassle of turning out. You can’t please everybody all the time and I quite understand (why some heads decide to close schools).”