South Scotland

Parent views on Scotland's school closures

Hundreds of schools in Scotland have been closed this week because of snow.

Children have had days away from the classroom and many thousands have been looked after by their parents who would normally have been at work.

BBC Scotland's news website spoke to parents who have been affected by the closures.


An Edinburgh father-of-four said he had to take several days off work after his children's school was closed due to the snow.

Image caption It was daddy daycare for the Howarth children as snow fell and kept falling

Dr David Howarth, 43, from Merchiston, told the BBC Scotland news website he was "worried" about when he would be able to get back to his job lecturing at Edinburgh University.

His twin sons, Frobisher, 6, and Hudson, 6, have been unable to attend school because St Peter's Primary has been closed.

He said: "I have taken two days off so far to look after the children.

"I am worried about not being able to get to work and I am concerned when the children will be able to go back to school.

"I was brought up in Canada, where it gets very snowy and cold in winter, but we never missed a day at school.

"One would assume they would have contingency plans.

"It is odd they don't have local teachers or people with basic training living nearby the schools for events such as this."


Dawn Shepherd, 23, of Aberdeen, thought her daughter's primary - Abbotswell School - should have been closed due to the current winter weather.

Image caption Dawn Shepherd with daughters Brooke and Bailey

The pharmacy assistant has been taking Brooke, five, to school, but four-year-old daughter Bailey's nursery at the same school venue has been closed due to the conditions.

She told the BBC Scotland news website: "They go to the same school and I only stay two minutes away, but I think the school should be shut."

She said she believed travel safety issues should be paramount, and added the girls found it cold going back and forth to school in the snow and wind.

Aberdeen's schools were closed for in-service days on Monday and Tuesday, but many have been affected by the winter weather since.


Rhona McLeman's two daughters, Rosie and Freya, were due to go back to their P4 and P2 classes at St Peter's Primary in Galashiels on Tuesday.

Image caption Rosie and Freya McLeman were due back at school on Tuesday but are now off until at least Monday

However, when heavy snows and icy conditions swept across the Borders it quickly became clear that was not going to happen.

Ms McLeman said she felt that first closure was handled pretty well by Scottish Borders Council.

"They were supposed to go back on Tuesday and we heard about that in good time on the Monday," she said.

"We were able to make arrangements."

She said that more could have been done to avoid the confusion which arose later in the week.

"We were told that they were going back on Wednesday but police advice was not to travel," she told the BBC Scotland news website.

"We all walked along to the school but when we got there we found that half the school wasn't there.

"The brief spell of time they were there they did not do much and at 11 o'clock we had the text to come and get them.

"It was just not safe and I am sure that was the case across a lot of the Borders.

"You have got to be sensible about it but I think there were conflicting messages.

"Local radio was saying the police message was not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary but on the other hand the schools were open."

Schools in the Borders are now shut until Monday at the earliest which, Ms McLeman said, had required a bit of "juggling" to arrange child care.

However, she added that the most important thing for any parent would always be to ensure that their children were safe.