The Department of Education and Children is reminding the public of the considerations it has and the measures it takes when closing schools due to adverse weather.
‘Closing schools is never a decision we take lightly, because of the effect on pupils’ education and the impact on the wider economy, with parents having to take time off work,’
said Andrew Shipley, Legal and Administration Manager at the Department of Education and Children.
‘However, safety of pupils and staff travelling to and from school is always of paramount importance to us when we make decisions.’
When bad weather is predicted, the DEC liaises closely with the Met Office, the Department of Infrastructure, the emergency services and Bus Vannin, which runs school buses, to determine whether schools should be closed.
Under law, the final decision is taken by the Minister.
In the case of bad weather during the evening and overnight, a decision is taken first thing in the morning and communicated to parents via local media, with whom the DEC works closely, and via the Department's Twitter feed @iomeducation.
If worsening weather during the school day causes concern, the same happens. However, the Department then has to consider issues such as arranging the necessary transportation home for pupils prior to making a public announcement, as school buses may not be able to negotiate congested roads.
‘Of course, in an ever-changing position, such as that experienced at Easter 2013, it can be hard to make the “right” decision, but we keep things under constant review,’
‘In the event of worsening weather during the school day, there is no need to panic. Pupils are warm and well looked after in schools and, in the event of a closure, no school will shut until such time as the last pupil has been safely collected.’