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School snow closures

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Alistair Mooney Alistair Mooney | 14:58 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

Schools across Scotland have been dealing with the effects of snow all week. Some were back in today, others were written off midweek until Monday and some haven't been off at all. It's been interesting to watch it unfold, as if by surprise, over the week.

We had plenty of snow earlier this year, Claire wrote about it in January, pointing out how Glow could come into its own in these circumstances, and of how the decision to close a school isn't an easy one. When I was at school I never really questioned why schools shut when it snows, a blanket 'frozen pipes' or 'boiler problems' was generally accepted while the real consideration was "I don't care, where's the sledge?"

Twitter's been a great gauge of what's being going on. From the geographical differences of thundersnow in the north east to the tropics of Troon, to the same type of tweets being replayed a few days later by teachers and parents south of the border.

For me, Twitter has also highlighted how technology has been used to relay the message of school closures. Complaints about council or school websites being down started on Sunday evening and carried on during the week. There was a sense of mixed messages and teachers were questioning whether they should be reporting to schools local to where they live.

The BBC website gives the latest on school closures, while it is hard to beat the trusty wireless too. Every morning Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland covered what was going on, even the surprising late school closures. Not to mention the latest traffic and travel news.

But for those whose schools have closed, the lessons continue, with staff posting learning activities to their school blogs or through Glow. It'll be interesting to see if this trend continues, and whether anyone will appoint themselves as important enough to draw up guidelines, instead of trusting the teachers to do it for themselves. It's good to see papers picking up on the positive possibilities of using Glow in the snow, reporting on pupils use Glow to beat the freeze and Scotland combats school closures by offering lessons online. We'll see how this develops if the frozen weather keeps up into a second week. And down the line we can wonder if we need classrooms or school buildings at all.

While the snow and ice can bring genuine dangers, some people's reactions to technical and transport problems and hastily made childcare arrangements has been a tad childish, ranging from "a disgrace" to "a catastrophe". An inconvenience certainly, but if that's the worst thing that happens to you all week, good luck to you. I say childish, but children would provide a lesson of how to enjoy the snow. Dare I say in this weather, some people should just chill out. Have a watch of the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo. And if you do venture out, wrap up warm, like this little owl in a hat.

In pictures:
Let it snow
Snow bound in Scotland



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