>West Lothian Council has reached a baffling decision that is the worst of all worlds as regards schools opening tomorrow.
I’ll post the ten announcements made on the Council’s excellent Twitter feed While the Council has in general done very well in horrific circumstances, I think they’ve mucked up here, especially as regards primary schools.
I have the info on schools that you are waiting for, it will take quite a few posts to share. Please read the info for parents.
Given current road conditions it is not possible for the council to guarantee school transport.
as it is the responsibility of the School Transport Operator to risk assess this provision.
When schools re-open, travel to and from school will, in many instances remain difficult.
Parents/carers are advised to check that pupils can get to and from school safely before they set out.
The decision to access schools when conditions could be difficult can only be made by the parent/carer.
The following will be closed on Wednesday 8 December : All special schools and all special classes in primary schools.
The following will be closed on Wednesday 8 December : All Nursery schools and all nursery classes and wraparound care provision.
The following will be closed on Wednesday 8 December: Linlithgow Primary School; Bellsquarry Primary School and Kirknewton Primary School +
The following will be closed on Wednesday 8 Dec: Pumpherston and Uphall Station Community Primary School; Westfield Primary School +
The following will be closed on Wednesday 8 December: Torphichen Primary School.
Please read the 10 posts above carefully – apart from those noted all other Primary Schools in West Lothian will be open.
You may not know this but I’m not much of a meteorologist. I’m being asked to make an assessment of what the weather is likely to do over the 6 hour period of the school day, without access to the detailed forecasts that the Council has. We all know what happened the other day, and how things can change very quickly.
How am I supposed to know from here how conditions are up at the school and what the route is like before I set off?
In practice, and with the temperature forecast to be well below zero tomorrow, I suspect that I’ll make the decision to keep Anna at home. I hope that she won’t be marked down as an unauthorised absence because of my concern that it is simply not safe to get her from here to the school either on foot or in a car.
I get that the schools have been shut for 6 days out of the last 7 and that working parents are finding this a real struggle. They need the schools to be open, but surely not at any price.
I think the Council have copped out here. If the schools are open, then there needs to be transport provided for the people who normally get it and the roads in the vicinity need to be passable. Reports from parents who walked up on Monday even before the snow started falling said that the paths around our school hadn’t been cleared and were absolutely treacherous. A tiny ribbon had been cleared in the playground and that was about it. Walking in those conditions is not an option for me and I’m not keen on driving there either given what I’ve heard about the road the school is on.
For secondary schools, the information is as follows:
The information about secondary schools is a bit more complicated for twitter – please read carefully.
The secondary school information which follows relates to the year groups that should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Armadale Academy, S4 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Bathgate Academy, S3 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Broxburn Academy, S4 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Deans Community High School, S4 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Inveralmond Community High School, S3 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Linlithgow Academy, S1 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
St Kentigern’s Academy, S4 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
St Margaret’s Academy, S4 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
The James Young High School, S1 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
West Calder High School, S3 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December.
Whitburn Academy, S4 to S6 should attend school on Wednesday 8 December
The illogicality of the Council’s position is clear when you consider Meldrum Primary in Livingston. It is currently situated in a corner of Deans High School. These kids have been told their school is open, but S1-S3 Deans High pupils have been told not to. That makes no sense. Why is it safe for the wee ones and not for the 12-15 year olds.
My worry about our school as well is that a fair few teachers live out of town. I don’t want them to be pressured to take unnecessary risks to get in and nor do I want to see a situation where parents have struggled to get their kids to school only to be called half way through the day or sooner and told to pick them up again because they don’t have the staff cover.
As far as I know, once a child is through the school gates, there must be a safe route for them to access the school that’s been cleared of ice and snow. I understand that this was not the case at a fair number of schools on Monday. I don’t feel that I can properly assess whether it’s safe for my child to go to school unless I see a copy of the risk assessment that the head teacher has prepared and I know whether there is a safe path.
The Council is expecting us to make an assessment on whether to send our children to school without giving us the proper information we need to make that assessment. It’s a cop out on their part. In the absence of that, I am likely to choose not to send my daughter.