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Afternoon updates: Find out if your child’s school in Suffolk and Essex is closed on Thursday, March 1

PUBLISHED: 11:54 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:23 01 March 2018

These two were making the most of the snow in Christchurch Park in 2005. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

These two were making the most of the snow in Christchurch Park in 2005. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

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More than 550 schools in Suffolk and Essex closed this morning – and several more which managed to open are now closing this lunchtime or early afternoon. Check here to see if your child’s school is open or closed (constantly updated).

Headteachers are this morning weighing up the balance between providing a day’s education and ensuring the safety of staff and pupils, and will do everything they can to keep schools openly safely if possible.

Many are being simply forced into closing their school due to a lack of staff or public transport – or because conditions are too dangerous. Police are advising people to only travel for urgent journeys.

More snow is also forecast to hit Suffolk throughout today. The Met Office last night put in place a yellow warning for snow for the region, from 00.05am this morning until 11.55pm tonight. Warnings are also in place for Friday and Saturday.

In Suffolk, 254 schools have closed out of 324. Yesterday, the total was 279. Some are opening later again this morning.

In Essex, 322 schools have closed, compared to 392 yesterday.

Headteachers defend opening schools and praise ‘amazing’ staff and ‘mental strength’.

Snowballs fights were aplenty. Picture: LUCY TAYLORSnowballs fights were aplenty. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Headteachers make the decision, usually before 7am. Headteachers make the decision, usually before 7am, and their main consideration is health and safety, particularly for pupils.

Schools are advised to make a decision to close as early as possible, in order to inform parents and carers in good time.

A risk assessment is conducted taking into account factors including: the state of pathways, steps and slopes around the school; condition of local roads and pathways; heating, lighting and water systems working correctly; if catering can be provided; public transport and school coaches; and the weather forecast. Schools may also need to close due to other unforeseen circumstances, such as heating failures and building problems.

See here for Suffolk County Council updates of school closures.

See here for Essex County Council updates of school closures.

Yesterday, Graham White, Suffolk representative at the National Education Union, said: “Heads have to make very difficult choices over the safety of staff, educating and not child-minding pupils, and flack from media and parents.

“It is inconvenient when schools close but safety and welfare is paramount, especially having witnessed the appalling and reckless driving of some.”

Mr White said children can study at home, such as homework or work prepared by teachers in anticipation of the snow and available online.

He added: “Parents also have a responsibility for education. A snow day is not a wasted day unless that is the intention.”

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