This has been a very difficult week for Bower Park, with adverse weather affecting the school. Whenever we make a decision to close (or open) we always get asked why that decision was made. Effectively, there are three key factors that I need to take into account:
- Is the site safe for students and staff?
- Will I have enough staff to teach lessons and adequately supervise students?
- What is the forecast saying – is it safe to travel?
For the first, site safety, my excellent site team monitor the campus and let me know by 6 a.m. if they can make the site safe. That has not been an issue this week.
In terms of staffing the school, on Wednesday over 35% of teachers contacted me to say they could not get in. It was felt that we would not be able to cover classes with a third of the teaching staff absent, hence we decided not to open. In hindsight, we could have opened for the Year 11 examinations.
On Thursday only four or five teachers were unable to get in, hence we were able to ensure all classes had a member of staff and the site could be adequately supervised. The school ran normally and the majority of students were able to get in.
On Friday, 2nd March, the site was fine, but the weather forecast (Met Office) was warning of severe weather, with disruption to travel from 11 a.m. onwards. This was the hardest decision, because at 7 a.m. everything looked very similar to Thursday, which meant we could open. However, we felt the risk of staff and students getting here and then struggling to get home was too great. The vast majority of secondary schools took the same decision.