Headteacher’s Spring Half Term Letter

Posted in: News Archive

Thank you for your support during the recent spell of snow and bad weather.

We tried to keep you informed as early as possible, with decisions made in the morning by 6:00am and communicated by 6:30am.

One aspect of the decision process is the issue of transport. Unfortunately, the bus company would not on two occasions give the school definitive responses. They were unable to let the school know if buses were running or not. In such situations I am obliged to keep the school open if safe in the morning. I am also obliged to close the school early to ensure all students get home safely at the end of the day.

I am also unable to close the school due to the possible threat of snow, even if the case, as it was, with most forecasting suggesting a 60% chance of lying snow. I am obliged to open and then close, with sufficient time to allow students to return home safely.

The added complications are that we have over 60% of our students who use school or service buses. Also we have a peculiarity of a ‘micro climate’ up in Woodingdean and to the top of the Race Course. Local residents will be well aware that it may be clear of snow in Rottingdean, but snowing heavily, only one mile away.

The complications are therefore numerous, my decisions are also guided by a requirement from central government to open the school, if at all possible.

We managed our examinations without disruption and I trust the vast majority of our families felt well informed and supported.

As a parent I fully understand the frustration of having to provide childcare at short notice and the impact upon work. I also understand that not all young people, when they wake up and see snow are keenest to attend school and may challenge parents. Thank you to all of those families who did manage to support their children into school, over those days.

Each student who attended received ten additional achievement points for each day of attendance during the partial closures.

Finally on this matter, as I have said I am obliged to keep the school open,  if assessed to be safe, buses running or not. I will inform parents of the transport situation by 6:30am each morning of snow via the school website and through text. Due to the very localised nature of our weather across our communities, ultimately parents decide if, or not, it is safe to send their children to school. We will respect that judgement in situations where snow is an issue.

I trust you appreciate from this, the efforts we take to ensure the safety of your child in adverse conditions. I am very aware that at times my decisions do not receive unanimous support. Please accept that in each situation we have your children’s welfare at the heart of the decision.

On a positive end……….exam preparations are going very well, the school is a very positive place to be.  I enjoyed a very one sided snow ball fight last Monday lunch, but I think I may have lost, well done Year 9 boys!

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