Fife schools remain closed

Volunteers clearing Burntisland Primary School of snow
Volunteers clearing Burntisland Primary School of snow

As the majority of people in the Kirkcaldy area begin to get back to normal today after the recent snow chaos, schools in the region remain closed.

Fife Council made the decision at 6pm yesterday (Sunday) that ALL schools would remain closed today “in the interests of pupil safety” although teachers were told to attend, if not their own school, then the nearest accessible one.

The decision was met with a mixed reaction, with some parents saying they agreed with the decision as many side roads and pavements were still difficult to walk on, while others said it should be left to each individual head teacher to decide whether their school should reopen.

In the statement issued by Fife Council it said the decision to remain closed had been taken “reluctantly.”

And the huge community efforts over the weekend to clear school playgrounds and access roads was also acknowledged.

“The exceptional community effort and Fife Council support will help us to open sooner than we would otherwise have been able to. The decision was taken in the interests of pupil safety, with so many pedestrian routes and school bus routes still inaccessible and severely affected by snow and ice.

“Staff are expected to attend, if not at their own school then at their nearest available school.”

Carrie Lindsay, Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services, said “This is not a decision which has been taken lightly and we have weighed up all possible scenarios before coming to this decision, pupil safety has to be our main priority.

“I am acutely aware of the need to get our children back in the classroom to continue their learning and to allow our parents back to work. The efforts made by some school communities yesterday and today have been amazing and hugely appreciated. These efforts will not go to waste because they will allow us to get our schools opened sooner.”

She said efforts had been made to try to at least open secondary schools but the sheer size and diversity of Fife had made it mpossible.

“Even within individual schools the travel arrangements for different sections of the community have been so varied it is unfair to expect children to attend.

“Road routes to our 18 high schools were treated regularly over the weekend and school carparks and access routes were cleared but in many areas the weather is still extreme and making travel conditions unsafe. Even where buses could be running the routes to the bus stops are not passable. The pavement condition of these walking routes varies greatly over Fife.”

One parent told the Press: “One more day to be on the safe side is okay. It’s better to be safe than sorry. But I hope they will be open again tomorrow.”

Another said: “I can see it from both sides. It’s a no win situation because if a child fell and hurt themselves on the way, parents would blame the school for opening.

“I don’t think it is anything to do with the individual schools. To be honest the playgrounds still had to be done for the kids safety anyway, and it was brilliant to see the community come together and do their bit to help.”

Another added: “Parents think it’s safe enough for their kids to go sledging, yet it’s not safe for them to walk to school? It’s ridiculous.

“Everyone else has to go in, and this decision is causing a lot of difficulty to parents having to arrange childcare at such short notice.”

A spokesman for Fife Council said that as soon as a decision was taken on whether to reopen schools tomorrow, it would be posted on social media.