Friday, February 6, 2009


Monday's snow was a novelty for many of our children, as it is 18 years since we last had enough snow for them to build snowmen and have toboggan rides. In Bedfordshire we had several snowfalls of 4-6 inches and the older children and their parents have loved playing in it, although little ones quickly get cold.

Some Bedfordshire schools stayed open on Monday and Tuesday, including Elstow and Wilstead Lower Schools and Abbey Middle, but others closed at the first sight of snow. Teachers have had several paid days off pay while thousands of children missed
up to a week's schooling, creating major problems for working parents across the country.

Unfortunately after 4/5 days off school the novelty wears off. In Canada where snow falls often in winter the children have "snow days" which are added on to the school term in June so that their education is not disrupted. An idea which the British could copy?

Many adults, including me, can work from home using their home computers but for others who do not get paid for not being at work like the self employed, shop assistants and many other private sector workers, several days off means lost wages -and many families are already struggling financially with the credit crunch.

Maybe the Government and Local Authorities should learn from the experience of other countries who regularly suffer severe winter weather, like Canada, Russia and Scandinavia, and develop better crisis management skills, so that London and the rest of the country do not grind to a halt whenever we have snow.


Anonymous said...

"Teachers have had several paid days off pay while thousands of children missed
up to a week's schooling, creating major problems for working parents across the country."

Would you have perhaps preferred additional accidents due to parents and teachers being forced to drive in the poor weather and road conditions?
Like many others, you seem to have missed the fact that other countries are prepared for snow precisely because they experience it on a regular basis. Hence individuals have snow chains ready to fit to their cars, authorities have snow ploughs and bus drivers are trained to cope with icy roads. In this country, the conditions we have experienced this year are, according to many, the worst experienced here for 18 years. We can logically be expected to prepare for events which occur frequently, but to fail to be ready for such rare events, while inconvenient, is hardly a crime.
Would you really expect councils and individuals to spend large amounts of money preparing for weather events we may not encounter again for another 18 years?
An inconvenienced - but understanding - parent and Bedford resident

Cllr Lynne Faulkner said...

All Bedfordshire's A & B roads were gritted by Bedfordshire County Council and the roads were clear enough for me and my teacher lodger to drive on every day! Accidents were caused by drivers going too fast and/or failing to clear snow off their cars.

Many Bedfordshire schools stayed open including Elstow Lower and Abbey Middle which were open three days out of five last week.

The British used to cope better with snow. I can remember the 1982 Big Freeze, and 3 Scottish winters as a child, when I almost always still had to go to school.

Last week many parents lost wages through having to look after their children for up to five days.

Anonymous said...

Have you stopped blooging, or are your fingers frozen in the snow.

Cllr Lynne Faulkner said...

Give me a break. I am allowed the occasonal weekend off. Actually I drove down to Watford, Herts to babysit my grandchildren and their roads were not as clear as the Bedfordshire roads which are gritted several times a day.

We were down to 3 days supply on Friday but have had another delivery, so we can carry on gritting and keep cars moving.