5th December 2018

Dear Parents and Carers

We are reaching that time of year again when adverse weather can be expected, and unavoidably, schools may have to close. As a group of Headteachers, we thought it would be helpful to explain to parents some of the reasons which may lead to this decision being taken. We appreciate that a school closure can be inconvenient for parents, but these decisions are never made lightly, and always with the safety of children and staff at the heart.

Within our cluster, we have a range of geographic locations. Some are in town, whilst some are more remote and this sometimes means the weather affects our surroundings differently. Most of our decisions are based around health and safety, for example,

* Can the site be made safe?

* Can staff get to work – on time? (Many staff travel great distances to work) If not, are there enough available resources to ensure all the children can be adequately supervised?

* Are the buses running? Just because service buses are running, does not mean that school services will be.

* Is the weather likely to worsen? What is the weather forecast? If the buses are unlikely to be running later in the day, the children cannot be left stranded.

* Can children and staff get home safely? If parents are late picking up children, this has a huge knock on effect for staff who need to pick up their own children.

For most schools, this is a decision that needs to be made early in the morning, as it is virtually impossible to close a school once the day has started.

Schools have a range of methods of contacting parents, and you should find out the individual arrangements for your school. However, it will most likely be posted on the website from early morning, most schools have Facebook pages or other social media platforms and the local radio stations announce school closures on a regular basis.

We realise that closing a school can be really inconvenient for parents and it may mean that you have children in more than one school and only one is closed. However, these decisions are always made with the safety of the children and the staff in mind, and always after consultation with senior staff and usually governors. They are serious decisions and are not made lightly.

We thank you in anticipation of your support in this matter.

Yours faithfully

The Headteachers of the Church and Oswaldtwistle Cluster

Rhyddings High School

St Oswald’s RC Accrington, St Mary’s RC Primary, St Paul’s CE Primary School, Belthorn Primary Academy. Mount Carmel RC High, Hippings Methodist School Moor End CP School, Belthorn CP School, West End CP School, Knuzden St Oswald’s CE, Oswaldtwistle School, Whiteash Specialist School, Broadfield Specialist School, Sacred Heart Church

Chairman: Mr A Martin (Headteacher Moor End) Secretary: Mrs A E Gray (Headteacher, St Oswald’s)