Headteacher explains decision to open Northgate High School in Dereham today
16:14 17 January 2013
© Archant Norfolk 2012
The principal of the only school in Dereham to open today said two thirds of students and all but one teacher made it in for lessons.
Northgate High School announced last night it would open the following day, provoking criticism from some parents because Neatherd High School and the sixth form in the same town remained closed.
Buses parked on the street outside the school rather than entering the grounds so they could drop students off by a new pathway that was completed over Christmas.
Headteacher Glyn Hambling said the school could not have opened without the direct path to the school, or the work of the site team which spent Wednesday clearing footpaths to all school buildings and entrances.
A total of 601 of the school’s 952 pupils attended.
One bus driver, who found some village roads impassable and said his bus was only partially full, raised concerns about having to stop the bus in the street outside the school and said: “This is crazy.”
Mr Hambling said: “Every headteacher has a really difficult decision to make and it’s based on their sites. I respect their decision because I know how difficult it is.
“We have to make a call and headteachers are almost damned if they do and damned if they don’t. You are faced with two decision that are both pretty lousy.
“The key thing is what is your site like. Without having a team like I have got I would not have been able to open the site.
“We had a site that was accessible for children and that was down to the fact we were able to do the work we could during the closure day. It’s absolutely fantastic what they have done.”
He visited each class this morning to personally thank staff and students for coming, and as a reward part of the playing field was cordoned off for students to play at end of the lunch break.
Mr Hambling said parents who supported and opposed his decision to open the school had contacted him, and the school posted photos on its website to offer reassurance about the safety of the site.