Posted: Thu 8th Feb 2024

Councils blanket closure of all Flintshire schools amid amber snow warning triggers strong reaction

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 8th, 2024

There has been a strong reaction to Flintshire Council’s decision to close all schools in the county today because of snow warnings.

The council’s emergency planning team took the decision yesterday to instruct all eighty-eight schools in Flintshire not to open their doors today, with pupils reverting to online learning.

The Met Office has issued an amber alert for snow and ice in North Wales from 8am to 3pm, the warning covers part of Flintshire, and a further yellow warning for snow covers the whole of Flintshire.

Forecasters have warned of up to 25 cm of snow on higher ground.

In response to the announcement regarding schools in Flintshire, a flurry of reactions emerged from the community on’s Facebook page.

Residents expressed a mix of frustration, scepticism, and humour over the decision.

Many questioned the necessity of preemptive closures, pointing out the minimal snowfall expected, with some even noting the forecast only predicted sleet and a mild breeze.

“It’s just a bit of snow – why the panic?” one person remarked, reflecting a common sentiment that the measures might be an overreaction.

The decision sparked a debate over the impact on families, especially working parents, who now face the challenge of arranging care or facilitating online learning for their children.

“What about those of us who still have to work?” another concerned parent asked, highlighting the disruption to daily routines and the broader implications for those unable to work from home.

Amidst the criticism, there were voices advocating for safety and caution, with some community members recognising the potential difficulties for staff and students commuting to schools.

Yet, the prevailing mood was one of disbelief and exasperation, as residents joked about the country’s apparent inability to cope with winter weather, echoing a sentiment of nostalgia for times when life seemed to go on uninterrupted by the threat of snow.

Flintshire Council’s decision has had a knock-on effect in neighbouring Wrexham, where Ysgol Rhosnesni has been forced to close today due to ‘reduced staffing capabilities.’

In a statement on Wrexham council’s website, Mr Andrew Brant, headteacher at Ysgol Rhosnesni, said staffing capabilities at the school had been reduced.

Mr Brant said: “Rhosnesni High School site will be closed to all staff and students tomorrow – Thursday 8th February 2024.

“The decision to close every school in our neighbouring (Flintshire) authority has reduced our staffing capabilities to unacceptable levels.”

“Best efforts will be made to provide online learning.”

Flintshire Council has also taken the decision to close all its Connects centres.

All Household Recycling Centre sites in Flintshire will also be closed today.

The council has said all waste and recycling rounds are “currently intended to go ahead as usual. Please be aware, however, that there may be some disruption.”

The TUC has called on employers not to force their staff to take any risks by making dangerous journeys to work.

The TUC says employers must show understanding and not punish workers by withholding pay or making them use their holiday.

Bad weather policies  

The TUC suggests that all employers have clear weather policies to set out what staff should do when snow and ice, or a lack of public transport, prevents them getting to work.

The union body says that “when the snow causes problems on the UK’s transport network it makes sense for employers to encourage and enable staff to work from home if they can, rather than struggle with a lengthy, risky and difficult commute to and from work.”

“These policies should also cover what parents should do if schools close and they have no alternative childcare. ”

Minimum temperature  

The TUC is also reminding employers to keep their workplaces safe during the cold weather.

Official health and safety law says the temperature should normally be at least 16°C (or 13°C if much of the work indoors involves severe physical effort). And bosses should also ensure entrances to workplaces are gritted and not slippery.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “Some of us may be excited as snow falls around the country this week.

“But others will be left worrying what to do about getting to work if trains and buses stop running – or if schools are closed.

“Employers must show understanding and not force staff to make dangerous journeys. And workers shouldn’t be docked pay or holiday if they can’t make it in.

“Good bosses will already have bad weather policies in place so staff know where they stand and recognise the difficulties those with children face when schools are forced shut.”

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