Magazine article Public Finance

School Closures Were 'Not Because of League Tables'

Magazine article Public Finance

School Closures Were 'Not Because of League Tables'

Article excerpt

Local authorities and head teachers have hit back at criticisms that they were too quick to close schools during the recent heavy snow.

Thousands of schools across the country were shut for days after the UK was hit by the worst winter weather since the 1970s.

Business leaders said a preoccupation with performance targets had caused schools to close unnecessarily. Stephen Alambritis, head of public affairs at the Federation of Small Businesses, told Public Finance: 'We feel a number [of head teachers] have not opened the schools because their [attendance] targets will be impeded. If they open and only half the kids turn up, their targets might not be as good as they would like.'

He called for locai authorities to highlight the ?-code', which exempts schools from including enforced closures in their statistics.

But the Local Government Association dismissed these accusations. A spokeswoman said councils were 'confident that head teachers are motivated by their concern for the safety and wellbeing of their pupils and that's what lies behind the decisions that they make'. Teachers' top priority was not about 'getting a good report' in these situations. …

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