45 schools close for two days

OVER half the schools in Comet country shut their doors last Thursday as snow brought parts of the region to a halt. Of the 133 schools in North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and Mid Beds, 69 shut up shop on Thursday and on Friday 45 were forced to do the same

OVER half the schools in Comet country shut their doors last Thursday as snow brought parts of the region to a halt.

Of the 133 schools in North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and Mid Beds, 69 shut up shop on Thursday and on Friday 45 were forced to do the same, around a third of all schools.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said schools notify local radio stations if they are going to shut and parents and teachers are told to listen in for an announcement on their school.

"It's a tried and trusted method," the spokesman said. "We give schools advice and it is up to the headteacher if they need to close the school. Safety is the priority; decisions have to be taken on the availability of information and there are also logistical reasons.


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"It depends on local conditions, where the children are coming from and where the staff come from, for example."

One resident, Angela O'Connell, 60, of Stevenage Old Town, said she found it "unbelievable" that schools were shut for two days because of a small amount of snow.

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Mrs O'Connell added: "I can understand nursery schools closing but it is ridiculous to close secondary schools.

"When my children went to school if teachers could not make it, children were taken in larger groups, possibly in the hall, and had a video or group lessons."

Police received many calls complaining of children bombarding pedestrians, motorists and property throughout Mid Beds on Thursday.

One incident involved the window of a moving car being smashed and shoppers including pensioners going into shops in Market Square, Potton, being targeted by a group of snowball throwing youths.

Children even brought traffic to a standstill when they made a giant snowball and rolled it down Everton Road in Potton.

A snowball fight in the town centre eventually degenerated into a fistfight and the youths were eventually moved on by police to the recreation ground.

Potton beat officer Pc Ross Patterson said the massive snowball had rolled out of control and lodged itself in the kerb causing an obstruction and making it difficult for traffic going up and down the hill.

"A colleague and I had started trying to break it up with shovels when, thankfully, a snowplough came along and saved the day and got rid of it very quickly," said Pc Patterson.

Police also received complaints from members of the public in Biggleswade and Sandy that homes and vehicles as well as pedestrians had been targeted by snowballing youths.

Police in Stevenage were also kept busy clearing large snowballs that had been placed in roads by children throughout the town.

Despite the bad weather there were no serious accidents in Comet country but Rob Ashford, Beds and Herts locality chief operating officer for the East of England Ambulance Service said: "All staff worked tirelessly to support their blue-light colleagues in what turned out to be a very busy day."

* Some parts of Stevenage were left without a visit from their postman after the weather caused interruption to the Royal Mail's service.

A spokesman for the company said: "I can confirm that there was some significant disruption with delivering mail in the Stevenage area due to the treacherous weather conditions."

The spokesman said there were disruptions around North Hertfordshire and Mid Bedfordshire and they were dealing with this case by case.

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