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Islington Tribune - by PETER GRUNER
Published: 6 February 2009
Salute to teachers and pupils who beat the snow

JUST three Islington state schools and a nursery – out of a total of 55 – beat the heavy snow and opened on Monday.
Among those who struggled in with their parents were 12 little ones who attend North Islington Nursery and Children’s Centre, off Blackstock Road, Highbury.
With 10 staff present out of the usual 20, the infants enjoyed virtually one-to-one care all day.
Nursery head Ian Senior was determined to get to the centre from his home in Richmond, west London, on Monday, although he was two hours late.
He said: “I’d rung around on Sunday night asking staff to try to get in. I managed the journey by a combination of mainline train and walking. There were long delays but I got there in the end. Our caretaker did a fantastic job clearing all the snow from the entrance.”
At St Andrew’s Church of England School in Barnsbury, all 21 staff turned up on Monday, with 72 children present out of the usual 200.
Head Michelle Thomas said: “Many walked in from vari-ous parts of London. Teachers managed to get in from St Albans by train and a couple even drove. I made it from Walthamstow on the Victoria line.
“I was really proud of everyone who made the effort. It showed real commitment to the school.”
The two other schools which opened for most of the two days were Hungerford in Holloway and Hanover at Angel.
Chairman of Islington Council’s west area committee, Labour councillor Paul Convery, congratulated the schools which resisted “giving in” to the extreme weather.
He said: “I can understand why the majority of schools decided to close on Monday. But there was no excuse for not opening on Tuesday when conditions had improved.
“My benchmark is Copenhagen Primary School, in King’s Cross, where many of the staff live miles away. Indeed, the headteacher came in from St Neots in deepest East Anglia. I am pleased to say that Copenhagen School opened on Tuesday.”

Cllr Convery accused heads of taking an “easy option” by closing the schools for two days. “It’s all right for teachers because they get paid anyway,” he said.
“But what about hard-pressed parents who need to go to work and lost a day or two’s pay because they had to stay at home with their ­children?”
He dismissed claims that schools had to shut because snow and ice represented a safety ­hazard.
“Not half as much of a hazard compared with the snow and ice in the back gardens, on the streets and in our parks where kids were enjoying themselves,” he said.

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