While hundreds of schools closed their doors as the big freeze tightened its icy grip, there was one place nestled on the Norfolk coast that was made of sterner stuff.

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For, while most of its neighbouring schools admitted defeat amid safety fears, Sheringham Primary stayed open - keeping up its record of not having closed for snow in more than 20 years.

The remarkable run comes despite it being the largest primary in Norfolk: at 600-plus pupils it comes in above some high schools.

Yesterday, all but five members of staff made it to work, while more than half of the students were at their desks.

And they were rewarded with plenty of fun, playing football in the snow and making snowmen in the ground of the school, at Cooper Road.

On its website, a message from headteacher Dominic Cragoe read: “School open as normal. Please don’t feel pressurised into bringing your children in if it’s dangerous for you: we are merely trying to keep the day as normal as possible for you.

“Please also feel free to collect your child early if you wish.”

Senior teacher Tim Groves said: “I’ve been connected with the school for more 20 years and I cannot remember a day when we’ve closed for snow.

“We had to close late morning once when the water main burst on Holway Road. But not once for snow.”

He added: “Enough of the staff live within walking distance, and we don’t normally have it that bad here. And we’ve got a reputation that we never close.

“We are creative about what we do and how we cover for each other. The children have had a wonderful time building snowmen.”

Mr Groves said if there were only 50 children able to get in, it would still worth opening “to provide a service for those parents who have to work”.

He said: “We always consider it’s important to be open. We are here for the children and to serve the community.”

16 comments

  • The reason schools close is because the Police asked for people to only travel if absolutely necessary. School traffic puts a huge amount of pressure on roads at rush hour. Also, site safety is a huge consideration as children will run around no matter what they are told and it has been difficult to clear all the snow and ice. I would question whether it is responsible to choose to open in light of the requests to stay off the roads!

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    Robert Coyle

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • So Musto, the office workers and councillors at NCC were out clearing the streets were they? And the perfume sales ladies at Debenhams out shovelling snow on the steps and pavements so that the customers could access safely? Or the nurses and doctors at the N&N clearing the car parks? Since when did this cross over of professionals turning their hand to manual labour become routine? need to get a grip, good grief.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

  • Agreed Musto, but its a good reason to have a day off isn't it, whatever that means to parents who have to leave off work. Well done Sheringham primary, for being normal.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • What a refreshing attitude, which should be the rule, rather than the exception. “Enough of the staff live within walking distance..." Even the fact that some headteachers live in the same postcode as their schools didn't stop some of them from closing. The headteachers who have a 30-40 mile round trip made it into school this week and put to shame those didn't even have to travel 10 per cent of that distance. If the heads and many of their teaching staff live in close proximity of their schools, would someone care to explain what the justification is to close when others, who have to travel further, manage to open? Come on EDP, why aren't you investigating this?

    Report this comment

    Musto_Fan

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • “School open as normal. Please don’t feel pressurised into bringing your children in if it’s dangerous for you: we are merely trying to keep the day as normal as possible for you. Please also feel free to collect your child early if you wish.” Well, Sheringham Primary School continued to function and parents were not obliged by the school to travel if they felt their safety and that of their children was compromised. The fact that the school was well attended given the circumstances bears out that the headteacher took the right decision. Good for him!

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    Musto_Fan

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • Why do I get the feeling that those posting critical remarks are older men from an urban environment? This school's opening arrangements are similar to that which we were accustomed to in the past, but only possible because the head is confident of having enough staff to give safe care to the pupils who attend. It is a big school and must have a large staff so has more flexibility .So let's address the other moans shall we. First that schools put a strain on traffic networks.Ok then let all the workers( and it is usually men) who are only person in their car be obliged to use public transport to get to work.Moaners about the school run somehow expect working parents to walk their kids to school walk home and then travel however far they need to to work. Why should kids walk in the rain and not middle aged men? If there is not a safe walking route and no full school bus system like the USA why should working parents and kids take the blame for congestion? Then the matter of staff living near by. I can hear the outcry if a school is short of a science teacher because none live close by or appoints a less well qualified teacher because they live on the doorstep. The days of women teachers having to be unmarried and male teachers having stay at home wives ended long ago in case you had not noticed-people live where it suits a couple or where they can find a home. Then the matter of safety. The flexibility of the Sheringham system is good. The moaners again forget that those parents of primary school kids who do not live on the school doorstep but up a country lane three miles from school face the possibility that they may not be able to access the school to collect their child at three o clock. So what then? Kids sleeping over all night in school, teachers forced to stay with them despite having kids of their own at school somewhere? When I was at school the kids from Bircham and Docking etc would get a call to get the earlier bus home because the weather was turning and roads likely to be closed by drifting snow-what would you do with a bunch of high school kids stranded in a town school for the night ? Because these days the bus companies wimp out long before Eastern Counties used to. We seem to have gone past the problem of schools closing because they knew their attendance records were adversely affected by low attendance in bad weather, but give schools and parents a break,they usually do what is best for the kids.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

  • I think you'll find that sacking someone simply based on how far away they live from their work is illegal, and quite frankly it's a ridiculous suggestion. How far away would you define as being too far, and based on that criteria why just apply it to schools? Actually there are plenty of employers who are forward thinking and flexible enough to understand that sometimes its just not worth the risk to expect employees to get into work regardless of the road conditions. My employer has an IT system which enables remote access, so you can log on from home and its as though you are in the office. There are a number of us who live 25+ miles from our office and this week we worked from home, rather than take longer than usual to get to work on hazardous roads. It has not adversely impacted the business and it was not an issue to our boss. Consequently it engenders better staff morale within the business. Plenty of businesses have this sort of IT, so in this sort of weather it would be far better for them to allow their employees to work in this way which would free the roads up and make it easier for those who work in essential services and have to travel. As for shops opening, it's a waste of time for some types of shops; why, for example,would anyone want to venture out in hazardous conditions to go and buy stuff such as the new spring and summer collections!

    Report this comment

    Row71

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • I wonder if all the people stuck in traffic chaos on Tuesday are more appreciative of the closures today? Can't disagree about the 'Nation of Wimps' but that is more down Health and Safety rules caaused by the sueing culture than the behaviour of schools.

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    Robert Coyle

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • 'The reason schools close is because the Police asked for people to only travel if absolutely necessary' Can't get my head round this quote, surley all journeys are necessary, it is why they are being made. 'School traffic puts a huge amount of pressure on roads at rush hour' and your point is.

    Report this comment

    greenmanwalking

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • What a pathetic excuse Robert Coyle. Most kids who go to Sheringham primary live within walking distance and don't need to travel by car. No wonder we're becoming a nation of wimps with attitudes like that. Well done to the Head and staff at Sheringham.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • “School open as normal. Please don’t feel pressurised into bringing your children in if it’s dangerous for you: we are merely trying to keep the day as normal as possible for you. Please also feel free to collect your child early if you wish.” Well, Sheringham Primary School continued to function and parents were not obliged by the school to travel if they felt their safety and that of their children was compromised. The fact that the school was well attended given the circumstances bears out that the headteacher took the right decision. Good for him!

    Report this comment

    Musto_Fan

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • @Daisy Roots My points previously made are in reference to the headteachers and their staff working to clear their sites, and the fact that others did not who live in closer proximity to their schools. Why was this the case? I don't know; you would need to ask them or, perhaps, they would like to login and comment. Sheringham Primary School opened, but no parent was under obligation to make a journey that they judged would cause difficulties. However, the option was there for those who could get their children to and from school, thereby allowing their education to continue uninterrupted. As for the other workers - in department stores, hospitals, etc - interesting that you don't feel there should be a crossover to 'pitch in and help out' in these times, yet was it not you who questioned why "a bloke" (is this any bloke, by the way, or could it be any woman, whatever their profession, happy to do their bit?) should not take a shovel and broom to the hazardous payment on Duke Street in reference to the article with the embedded You Tube video?

    Report this comment

    Musto_Fan

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

  • I don`t know of any employer, other than a head teacher, who says to their staff, “stay at home I am closing the hospital, shop, police station, fire station etc etc because we have had a spot of snow and it might be a bit of an inconvenience for you to come to work.” There must be a full inquiry this time round. If schools think their staff live too far away then sack them and employee staff who live much closer. We can’t carry on like this every time we had a bit of snow.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • "Also, site safety is a huge consideration as children will run around no matter what they are told and it has been difficult to clear all the snow and ice." @Robert Coyle All headteachers are in the situation of ensuring that their sites are safe. Even when schools are closed to pupils because of snow, headteachers, along with their teams of staff, will be working to make their sites are safer by closing the playground, clearing the snow or ice, gritting the paths to the school building and, if necessary, restricting the usual entrance points so that access into school is less hazardous. Goodness gracious, anyone would think that the impossible is expected. Some headteachers need to get a grip and just get on with it!

    Report this comment

    Musto_Fan

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • I think you'll find that sacking someone for living too far away from work is illegal, and quite frankly it's a ridiculous suggestion. How far away would you define as being too far, and based on that criteria why just apply it to schools? Actually there are plenty of employers who are forward thinking and flexible enough to understand that sometimes its just not worth the risk to expect employees to get into work regardless of the road conditions. My employer has an IT system which enables remote access, so you can log on from home and its as though you are in the office. There are a number of us who live 25+ miles from our office and this week we worked from home, rather than take longer than usual to get to work on hazardous roads. It has not adversely impacted the business and it was not an issue to our boss. Consequently it engenders better staff morale within the business. Plenty of businesses have this sort of IT, so in this sort of weather it would be far better for them to allow their employees to work in this way which would free the roads up and make it easier for those who work in essential services and have to travel. As for shops opening, it's a waste of time for some types of shops; why, for example,would anyone want to venture out in hazardous conditions to go and buy stuff such as the new spring and summer collections!

    Report this comment

    Row71

    Friday, January 18, 2013

  • Schools put a strain on roads at rush hour? As I understand it they pay road tax. This makes it legal to drive when they like. Stagger work opening hours further than they are if you want to reduce congestion. Also, the travel advice would apply to every other motorist. Until someone defines what is a necessary journey, then such advice is meaningless. Good on Mr Cracoe.

    Report this comment

    JP Ringer

    Friday, January 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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