Thank you for your patience with the disruption to the school opening as a result of the severe
weather conditions and then again this week with the water problems. I also apologise for the
inconvenience the enforced closures will have caused you.
The decision to close a school is never made lightly and is always a last resort. My decision to close
the school last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was made after consultation with Leeds City Council
and other local schools as well as our facilities management company, Mitie. As you will be aware,
we have a duty of care to ensure the safety of all our students and staff whilst on the school premises
and, although we took every precaution to ensure the site was safe, it was felt that, after almost
hourly risk assessments and constant monitoring of the weather forecast, we were unable to
guarantee students’ and staff safety. Therefore, it was necessary to close the school.
Amongst the many considerations when making the decision to close the school is the need to give
parents/carers as much information and notice as possible. I would particularly like to apologise for
the late decision to close the school on Wednesday. I fully intended to open the school on
Wednesday but a sudden deterioration in the weather conditions around 8.00am combined with the
fact that many staff were unable to get into school (some of whom travel a considerable distance to
get to work) meant that it was not safe for me to open the school. On Wednesday evening, all
Headteachers in Leeds were asked by Leeds City Council to make an early decision, to give parents
and carers as much notice as possible, if they were to close on Thursday. Some schools decided on
Wednesday evening to close on Thursday. Again, I was keen to open the school if at all possible,
which is why the decision was delayed until Thursday morning. After heavy snow for most of the
night and freezing temperatures, it was obvious that the school site was not safe and many of our
staff had indicated that they were unable to get into work. A text was sent as early as the system
allows to inform you of our closure. After several site assessments during the day on Friday;
consultation with other local Headteachers; and after taking advice from our facilities management
team, I decided to close the school on Friday and communicate with staff and parents/carers on
Thursday evening in order to avoid any dangerous and unnecessary travel in the morning.
As a result of the continued low temperature, our water pipes froze, causing an electrical fault in
our water pump. As we had no running water, I had no option but to close the school early on
Monday. We were unable to re-open on Tuesday for health and safety reasons.
Our priority for the rest of this week is to make sure that the lost learning time is caught up and
that we are able to get back to normal.
Yesterday, we uploaded a comprehensive package of catch up activities to our website for Years 7
to 11. We will be working with students to ensure these are completed. We shall also arrange
extra lessons for exam classes after school and during the end of term holiday.
There are also changes to the published calendar for this week:
Year 11 mock English exam will now take place on Wednesday 7 March and the mock
maths exam will be on Thursday 8 March. The arrangements for these exams will remain the
same; the exams will start at 8.45am and students need to be in school at the usual time of 8.30am.
We will now celebrate World Book Day on Thursday 8 March with the same arrangements in
place as before. Students are welcome to dress up as their favourite book character, if they have
pre-registered their intent to do so with their tutor. It is not a general non-uniform day.
There will also be a chance to swap a book at lunch time at our Book Swaps on Thursday 8 and
Friday 9 March 2018.
Our Community Read continues today, Thursday and Friday this week so students will be
able to tell you what happens to Friedrich at the end of the day on Friday.
As a reminder, our Year 10 Parents’ Evening will take place on Thursday 15 March between
5.00pm and 7.00pm. Your child will be asked to make appointments with their teachers this week
and next. If you are unable to attend the event, please do let Mrs Parker (Head of Year 10) know
and she will arrange for your child’s teacher to pass on important information to you.
This week is also our Confidence Week where students will be given the opportunity during their
lessons to reflect on and consolidate their learning. There will be regular updates on how our
students use this time on Twitter - @lawnswoodschool.
I will write again on Friday with my usual Headteacher’s Update.
Mrs J Bell