It’s all white

Snow has reached my part of the world, which has reacted with its usual hysteria. Arriving at the weekend, at least it has given people a chance to get out and enjoy it with a clear conscience, but we’re all left wondering about the possible impact on school tomorrow. Will the school be open? Will it be safe to travel to it? If we take the decision to send our child to school despite possible issues travelling, what will the quality of learning be like, with some kids kept off and others grumpy and wishing they were outside or at home?

During previous winters I’ve been involved with a school who sent the kids home mid-morning, to great celebration, and a school who insisted on staying open despite the weather, to have at least one student slip and fall, breaking a wrist. I’ve had to send someone ten miles in a 4×4 to rescue my son when the buses stopped running due to bad roads, I’ve been stranded myself for five hours on a journey that should have taken twenty minutes, and I’ve taught classes with half the children missing.

I was out in the snow myself yesterday morning. Parkrun still took place, despite the snow, and I had a really pleasant run along the promenade and back along the grass at the top. I didn’t have any problems at all with slipping, although I suspect that it would not have taken much to have polished the prom to a very slippery state, and with no worrying about trying to beat speed the run proved a lot of fun – and still two minutes faster than my first parkrun three months or so ago.

I have never, to my recollection, built a snowman, nor have I had a proper snowball fight or been on a sled. My biggest memory of snow as a child was being walked home from church by a family friend who left me at the gate. I could not get the gate open thanks to all the snow piled up against it, and was eventually rescued, very distressed, by my father, who took me in and warmed me up. I think what made most impression that time was the concern he showed me that time – quite unknown normally.

So I’ve had to prepare two lots of lessons for tomorrow: one for if it’s business as normal with everyone in, and one for if some kids are in but not enough to make it practical to do the assessment test that’s due. Always with the third option of no lessons at all for the day.

Part of the trouble is that snow can be so localised that there can be different levels at the school, home and journey stages, and very few people who actually want to be in school – or to travel to school – under such circumstances.

Ah well, not my decision, so I’ll await the morning and whatever that might bring. All the time thinking of the documentary I saw about 1963, when the snow and big freeze lasted through until March… 😉

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