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True grit as head decides to open school
DETERMINATION: Parents and children trudge through the snow as they make their way to Ledbury Primary School.
A WHITE blanket covered Ledbury as up to 8cms of snow fell.
However, while many children in the county had time off school, Ledbury Primary School remained open with headteacher Julie Rees determined to carry on.
After heavy snowfall schools such as Eastnor, Much Marcle, Ashperton and Bosbury Primary School closed, and the town’s John Masefield High School also shut, except for pupils sitting exams.
In a letter to parents, signed by Mrs Rees and the Chairman of Governors, Darren Stokes, Ledbury Primary explained its “keep going policy”, one that led to mixed responses among parents.
While many parents at the gates praised the school’s “British spirit” last Friday, others questioned the wisdom of opening at all, especially because school lunch deliveries were cancelled and staff had to make sandwiches for the children.
Parents were phoned just hours after the school opened, while snow continued to fall, and given the option of collecting their children.
But Mrs Rees and Mr Stokes believe their decision to open was correct.
Their letter states: “Many thanks to staff, parents and pupils who all made it into school on Friday, despite the hazardous conditions.
“We understand you all had a very snow filled day.
“We had a mixed response from parents regarding staying open, but wherever possible we will endeavour to stay open unless health and safety risk assessments indicate that it is unsafe for pupils and staff.”
The decision to stay open has been welcomed by Ledbury weatherman, Norman Selkirk, who pointed out schools remained open during the worst winter of the last 100 years, the great winter of 1963.
Mr Selkirk, of Albert Road said: “It absolutely beats me why schools close. The schools did not close in 1963.
50 years ago, the weather we’ve just had would have gone un-noticed.”
A True grit as head SNOW IN LEDBURY by Gary Bills-Geddes 01905 742246 email@example.com Mr Selkirk while snowfall in the last bad winter 2010, was only slighty more, in terms of depth, the snow remained without thawing for much longer, from November 25 to Boxing Day.
And temperatures were much lower in 2010 too, falling to minus 14C.
Last week, the lowest temperature in Ledbury was recorded before the snow came, on Wednesday, January 16, when Mr Selkirk noted a night-time temperature of minus 3.6C.
Mr Selkirk said: “Lowest temperatures were tame, in comparison to 2010.”
Snow started to fall on Ledbury at 8.15am on Friday, January 18, driven on by a chilly easterly wind.
By 11.30am, fine “dry”
flakes were falling heavily, and soon afterwards Mr Selkirk, using the gauges in his garden, was able to record a depth of 12cm.
Mr Selkirk predicted it would get milder over the weekend and couldn’t see any “great snowfall”.