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Snow shuts schools

It’s not often that I find myself in agreement with the leader of Swindon Borough Council but on the vexed question of school closures due to inclement weather I have to say that I agree with his comments.

Many of us will remember 1963 when the roads really were blocked by snow, temperatures plummeted and the only way to get to school was to walk. Any self respecting caretaker would have been mortified if ‘their’ school wasn’t a haven of warmth and cleanliness.

I don’t recall being told ‘no school today’ – such a suggestion would never have entered my mother’s mind. Wrap up warm and off we would go, little mini Captain Scotts braving the elements. I do recall that due to teacher shortages some classes of 60 to 70 were held in the school hall controlled admirably by headmaster.

This past Sunday was a nightmare but by Monday morning roads were open, public transport was running and getting across town via main routes was quite safe. And yet 22 schools declared it to be either unsafe or impossible to open for reasons such as teachers couldn’t get to school, school dinners couldn’t be provided, playgrounds couldn’t be gritted. All appear very sensible reasons but they all have one thing in common in that they are all about what couldn’t be done rather than being positive and making things happen.

Many other workers including nursing staff at the GWH and numerous surgeries managed to get to work. With regard to the import of child safety referred to by some critics of Coun Renard, would they be parents of the children who risk life and limb by sliding down steep embankments?

DES MORGAN, Caraway Drive, Swindon

Scaremongering chills

It’s winter again and – shock, horror, gasp – it might be frosty and we might even get a centimetre of snow somewhere!

Is anyone else tired of the apocalyptic weather reports with yellow warnings and advice to only go on journeys if they’re absolutely necessary? Get over it! Treating people like dumb namby pambies is exactly WHY people ACT like dumb namby pambies these days. Everyone with any common sense should be able to look out and realise it’s a bit icy or snowy without any TV warnings. I remember snow drifts in the 70’s six or seven feet deep and we needed the local farmer with a tractor to dig a path through the roads at Blagrove. Didn’t have yellow warnings back then. Yes, there are people who need to know what the weather is going to be like - farmers for example - but by treating a slight risk of snow as a basis for scare mongering in this country is ridiculous.

The Scandinavian countries who deal with massive amounts of snow all year round must think we’re a laughing stock. But on the plus side, all those 4x4 owners in the country can now pat themselves on the back for buying a vehicle that’s actually useful for once.

ROGER LACK, North Swindon