Shropshire Star

Pupil transport cancellation defended as schools close over snow fears which fail to materialise

A council has been criticised for stopping school transport over weather fears, despite snow failing to materialise.

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Welshpool High School is closed today. Photo: Phil Blagg

On Wednesday morning the Met office issued an amber warning for snow and ice for parts of west Shropshire and north Wales.

The warning led to Powys County Council cancelling school transport, which resulted in a number of schools in the county announcing they would have to close on Thursday.

Announcing the closure on Twitter, headteacher of Welshpool High School, Joe Arnold said: "We have been informed that due to the weather forecast for tomorrow No School Transport will be running.

"As a result of this decision and to ensure the safety of all students, families and staff members, we have taken the decision to close the school. Learning will be available via Google Classroom."

Llanfyllin High School in Powys also announced on Wednesday that the school would remain shut the following day due to snow.

The school said: "We have been informed by the local education authority that all school transport for tomorrow, Thursday 8th February, has been cancelled due to the adverse weather predictions. Ysgol Llanfyllin will therefore be closed to all pupils and staff for the day.

"Members of staff will be providing learning materials via teams or email for pupils to access during the day."

However, by the start of the school day on Thursday morning, no snow had fallen and the Met Office were predicting just rain for the rest of the day, leading to criticism on social media by locals over the stopping of school transport.

Michelle Calderbank said: "Whoever at Powys CC Passenger Transport Unit made this decision has egg on their face this morning."

While Miranda Glen, added: "Decisions to both cancel transportation and close the school need to be done in the morning. What a bad, and completely hasty, decision."

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “Our priority is to ensure that learners are kept safe while they use school transport.

“The decision not to provide school transport was not taken lightly but it was based on the weather forecasts that the council receives and took into account the amber warning for snow and ice that is still in place until 3pm today.

“The decision to close a school due to adverse weather would be down to individual schools.”