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Could do so much better.

WE all know there are lies, damned lies and statistics - but, as far as our schools are concerned, it seems the powers-that-be are dragging things down to new depths.

For in this most disrupted of weeks, when many parents have felt that a lot of schools have been a little too quick to shut their doors, those schools which have remained open are set to be penalised.

We teach our children to abide by rules and regulations - and yet, thanks to an absurd set of rules and regulations, the Department for Children, Schools and Families has stated that "the absence percentage for a school that stays open may be higher than if it had closed, if significant numbers of pupils are unable to attend".

How pathetic. How ridiculous. How unfair. That schools which feel able to continue educating pupils who can get to class should suffer in any way is a travesty - and sends out the wrong message to headteachers who, when the snow came, could, perhaps, have been forgiven for having one eye on their next Ofsted report and government rankings.

Of course, the safety and well-being of our children is paramount, but mass school closures cause major problems of their own - not least the huge pressures they place on working, often single, parents.

It is inevitable, meanwhile, that many children will be "latchkey kids". And which is safer - an ice-bound school or the ice-bound streets? As well as a desire for better communication from some schools, many working parents believe a greater emphasis should be placed on contingency planning - perhaps other community facilities, including leisure centres, could have been commandeered to help lessen the strain placed on parents.

But one thing is certain - penalising schools which remained open this week is an absolute nonsense.

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 8, 2010
Words:302
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