Parents’ anger at schools choosing to SHUT due to UK heatwave
Parents have lashed out at schools and kindergartens, which have closed their doors and canceled trips because of the heatwave.
Schools in Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire have decided to close, while others close early on Monday and Tuesday amid warnings temperatures could reach 43C.
Some campuses have allowed students to study from home in a bid to return to the remote facilities observed during the pandemic.
But parents have said the “utterly ridiculous” situation has led to “chaos” as they are forced to juggle last-minute childcare alongside their work.
It comes after Oasis, one of England’s largest academy chains, announced its schools would remain open and called the decision by some institutions to close “irresponsible”.
Britain has already been brought to a near standstill by the national emergency, with trains canceled and Luton Airport closed as its runway melted.
As schools close their doors or tell parents to pick up their children earlier as the country grapples with the heatwave, an education provider has urged its peers to stay open (stock image).
The extreme heat alert that UK health officials have said puts even the fit and healthy at risk
Rail companies are telling people not to travel in the heat
More than a dozen rail companies are telling Brits not to travel today and tomorrow as the UK’s first red extreme heat warning comes into effect.
A total of 21 operators – from Transport for Wales and Gatwick Express to Transpennine Express and Southern – said they will offer slower service on Monday and Tuesday after National Rail imposed speed restrictions on its network.
Speed limits are used by train companies in hot weather to avoid damage to the tracks and to prevent rail buckling.
There are also cancellations as temperatures are expected to soar to highs of 38C and 40C in some parts of England. Yellow and red extreme heat warnings have been rolled out nationwide for the duration.
Those who must travel are encouraged to check their trips on National Rail’s website before heading out and bring water to stay hydrated.
Refunds will be offered to those who are not traveling but have already purchased tickets.
LNER has said there are no trains running from south of York and south of Leeds to London Kings Cross on Tuesday.
Transport for London chief operating officer Andy Lord said the London rail network would also run reduced service on Monday and Tuesday.
He told LBC: “We are advising all our customers to only travel if their journey is absolutely necessary to ensure they stay hydrated and have water with them if they must travel. Check before you travel as travel times will increase. Due to the security restrictions we are having to put in place due to the heat, we will have limited services across the TFL network.
dr Renee Hoenderkamp, GP at Christchurch Hall Surgery North London, tweeted that her daughter’s nursery had canceled a trip because of the weather.
She said, “I’m not sure why she feels less safe there than at home.”
In response to a tweet from another parent complaining about the closure of their child’s daycare, Dr. Hoenderkamp: “What on earth are you supposed to do as a parent who probably has to go to work.”
dr Sarah Rutherford, head of an organizational culture consultancy, criticized the “utterly ridiculous” decision by some schools to close at lunchtime over safety concerns.
She said this was a signal of “increased government scrutiny and a further diminution of our own inherent sense of what is best for us”.
A father took to Twitter to complain that his son’s school is closed, which “is not helpful to parents who work”.
Another complained that “schools have started to take parents and their jobs for granted.”
They wrote: “Remember those who can work from home can easily convert an office day into a home day. Doesn’t work that way. It can be very annoying.’
A Twitter user in London complained: “Some schools here closed earlier but parents still have to work, pure chaos.”
It comes after Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis, told The Times: “The decision to close a school at any point has a huge economic and social impact.
“A lot of our children’s homes are very small and hot,” so closing schools would be “incredibly irresponsible,” he argued. It would hit the poorest families the most because they are less able to work remotely and look after children at home.
“It’s like a lockdown – it was a class construct – you can’t work remotely if you’re a cleaner or you work in a supermarket.”
The heatwave saw temperatures hit 38C (100F) in England today after forecasters gave it an 80 per cent chance of beating the UK record of 38.7C (101.7F) set in Cambridge in 2019 became.
The scorching heat means Britain was warmer than Nassau in the Bahamas (32°C), Kingston in Jamaica (33°C), Malaga in Spain (28°C), Athens in Greece (35°C), Albufeira in Portugal (28C) and Dakhla in Western Sahara (24C).
Despite temperatures expected to continue rising, health chiefs have insisted there is no public health reason to justify closing schools.
UK Government advisers believe school environments that can be air conditioned could actually be cooler.
There is no temperature threshold for school or workplace closures.
Comments from Mr Chalke, whose schools are mainly located in the north of England, came after Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, said it was important that children’s education should be kept up during the heatwave.
“We’re nearing the end of the school year,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
“But I think it’s really important to make sure young children get the education they need, especially after the pandemic, and schools are well placed to do that.”
Hereford Academy in Herefordshire is one school that has announced an earlier start and finish to their school day.
And in east London, Anna Feltham, the headmistress at Clapton Girls’ Academy, said on Friday an early end as school facilities will not be able to cope with the heat.
“Already, many classrooms are very hot, even with fans, and students are struggling to stay cool, drink enough water, and concentrate in class,” she said.
“Next week’s heat wave will make many classrooms unbearably hot for periods two and five.
“We’ve looked at a number of options but don’t have enough ‘cool’ spaces to reschedule the classroom.”
Other schools across the country, while not closing their doors, are banning outdoor events and games, with physical education classes also being canceled to help children avoid overheating.
According to government recommendations, children are more susceptible to high temperatures than adults because they do not sweat as much and are therefore at greater risk of heat-related health problems.
While No10 hasn’t gone so far as to recommend schools close their doors, they did recommend easing uniform restrictions to help kids keep their cool.
Other steps such as leaving windows open overnight if possible and turning off heat-producing devices such as computers when not in use.
39C (102.2F) was forecast for parts of the country today, such as London, but meteorologists said tomorrow has the highest chance of temperatures surpassing the 40C (104F) mark.
Education is just one area where the heatwave is devastating Britain.
The runway at Luton Airport was closed in the heat today due to a “surface fault”. A Luton spokesman told MailOnline that engineers have been called to the scene and repair work is underway.
Meanwhile, Wales recorded its hottest day on record. The Met Office confirmed Hawarden hit 37.1C (98.8F) in Flintshire this afternoon, beating the previous all-time high in Wales of 35.2C (95.4F) at the same spot in 1990 had surpassed.
Trains were canceled as the tracks began to buckle and GP surgeries were closed amid dire warnings that fit and healthy people could die from the heat.
Rescue services urged swimmers looking to cool off to stay away from lakes and rivers in case they encounter difficulties.