Just a few flakes of snow

SIR – I read your Last Word column (No learning curve lazing on the beach, February 2) and felt it worth commenting to you about what has been happening at Stevenage schools this week. Both my children are pupils at Marriotts School on Telford Avenue. Thi

SIR - I read your Last Word column (No learning curve lazing on the beach, February 2) and felt it worth commenting to you about what has been happening at Stevenage schools this week.

Both my children are pupils at Marriotts School on Telford Avenue. This week they have had one single day of school. Closed Monday, closed Tuesday, open Wednesday then closed again Thursday and Friday.

Admittedly Friday was a planned inset day but as the roads in and around the town were awful and I could not even get out of Stevenage to go to work in Buntingford (which does lie on a bus route), I suspect that no teacher training was done and another day will have to be scheduled, thus losing another day of my children's education. So one week = one day of school - that is a lot of missed lessons.

I am not one of the parents who takes children out of school for holidays but pays the inflated rates charged for the privilege of being a rule-obeying parent.


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As you are defending our council's snow clearing of roads etc, what do you then think about the near total closure of schools because of snow? Absolutely no attempt had been made to clear snow at Marriotts, neither outside the school gates nor inside to allow normal access to the school for our children's valuable education.

In the 60s and 70s we did not make such a palaver about snow. I can remember walking to and from school in heavier snow than we have just had. Schools did not close for snow then. Whichever teachers got in would teach the children who made it in and it was often a broader educational spectrum than a normal day. You are correct that it is not a good idea for children to miss out on school. Why then is it OK for the council to do nothing to help encourage schools to stay open. Perhaps some council office staff should come out of their nice warm offices and shovel some snow at schools?

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Another school which stayed closed was Nobel on Mobbsbury Way (a bus route). My kids should have been there on Saturday for drama school but it too stayed closed. What was the point of clearing access to the school if no pupils were to be taught?

What do you think? Perhaps the snow clearing should have been better thought out especially with regard to schools. Personally I do not think the road clearing was good as I had a lot of problems even on bus routes and A roads but maybe I am just making a fuss. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on why it's wrong to take children out of school for holidays but OK for a week of snow.

NIKKI DAVEY

By email

SIR - I would like to congratulate Radburn Primary School of Letchworth for being one of just a few schools in the county that stayed open on Monday and Tuesday.

They did this, despite receiving a directive from county which would have made it easier for them to close, thus showing an integrity and endeavour sadly lacking in our county officials.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank publicly the headteacher and her staff and fully support their determination to put the interest of our children's education first and foremost.

DEBBIE BIRDSEY

Chair of Governors

Radburn Primary School

SIR - Once again a day of snowfall brings the country to a standstill. No buses, no trains, schools and colleges closed, courts and other public amenities suspended. The namby-pamby attitude this country has adopted makes me embarrassed to be English.

I live in the Chells area of Stevenage. What has really annoyed me is that Stevenage Borough Council did not collect the rubbish this week, the reason? You guessed it ''because of the snow''. The operator at the council stated that it would be collected next week. When asked ''what if it snows next week, the reply was ''it will sit there for a second week, it is too dangerous to send the refuse collectors out'' - Health and Safety...

In the meantime Chells and other areas of the town have piles of rubbish on every street corner. Last night I saw a rat sniffing round a pile of rubbish bags on Telford Avenue; doesn't Health and Safety cover rats and vermin? That comment was ignored by the operator at SBC.

Okay, the roads have been icy, but that is what road gritters are for. Apparently they are running low on stocks of road salt. Does that mean they only ordered a week's worth of salt to last the whole winter?

Unbelievable and for this I pay over �150 a month in council tax.

Mr ANGRY

Address supplied

SIR - With reference to the recent weather conditions I do appreciate the efforts of the gritting teams that have been out gritting the main roads, but neglecting the back roads. I live in a very small road which is on a hill and is very difficult to get traction to get moving. A few years ago we and other side roads had salt bins situated in their roads so where have they all gone?

D ROWLAND

Foxfield

Stevenage

SIR - I would like you to say a big thank you to the girls and boys who delivered this week's Comet on time as usual. Well done to them struggling through the snow and ice. Much appreciated.

Mrs M PHILLIPS

Durham Road

Stevenage

SIR - Could I have an explanation from the council?

How come a well known retailer in the town was able to deliver a very large fridge freezer last week to my house in Stevenage, down a few steps and along a footpath still full of snow, also as a transport manager all our vehicles managed to go out to all parts of the country and return safely during the adverse weather last week, but Stevenage Council could not collect a few bags from the side of the road.

The resident had already done the hard part, i.e. drag the bags from around the back of houses and along snow covered paths and steps and place them on the side of the road, all the collectors had to do was stop and throw the bags in the back of the vehicle.

All of our professional HGV drivers were able to cope with the driving conditions in order to attempt to keep the county running, so what excuses does Stevenage have?

R WARD

By email

SIR - May I through your letters page give a warm thank you and praise to five public spirited souls and residents of Bedford Road, a main artery into Letchworth, who on the morning of February 5, helped push numerous struggling motorists up an icy hill for over an hour.

I would also like to say a special thank you for the hot drinks which were very welcome and confirmed that the British spirit in adversity is alive and well.

Cllr ELLIOT NEEDHAM

By email

SIR - Having visited Lister Hospital several times recently and taking into account the large amount of profits made in charges and fines from visitors and staff I was annoyed to find that the company responsible for the car park has neglected to treat the roads or parking areas with any grit or salt. This makes it extremely hazardous for patients and staff just to get into the hospital. Luckily there is an A and E just around the corner

Perhaps they are with the wrong bank but surely Vinci Park can afford a small contribution towards some grit out of their annual profits.

NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED

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