Schools urged to open for vital exams

SCHOOLS are under pressure to make sure today's AS-Level examinations go ahead as planned.

Simon Tomlinson

SCHOOLS are under pressure to make sure today's AS-Level examinations go ahead as planned.

Schools secretary Ed Balls has spoken out to urge headteachers not to allow the snow and ice to cause chaos for students across the country.

Hundreds of thousands could potentially be disadvantaged if bad weather affects the exams, with pupils who fail to make it in, or see their school closed, missing a chance to take the paper.

Most of those due to take place over the next two weeks are modular exams for AS and A-levels, although some are GCSEs.

However, parents in Suffolk have been reassured that the AS Level exams will take place today even if schools are closed to other pupils.

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Many parents had been contacting Suffolk County Council after about 70% of schools closed to pupils on Thursday and Friday.

A county council spokeswoman said: “As far as we have been able to determine, schools have made arrangements for examinations to take place irrespective of whether the school has to be closed for other students.

“Parents and pupils should check the school's website for information.”

The apparent over-eagerness of headteachers to shut schools in bad weather is due to be questioned in the House of Commons today.

Colchester MP Bob Russell wants answers over the 200-plus schools that closed in Essex.

He said: “We are constantly told that Britain is a world leader in distant learning and that schools have regular Internet contact with pupils, and vice versa.

“So if it is claimed that schools have to close because of the snow then why cannot teaching continue with the aid of modern electronic communications?”

He added: “I have to ask, why did so many schools shut? In my 11 years at school I cannot recall my school ever shutting because of the snow.

“The school closures have caused huge disruption to families, particularly those where both parents go to work.”