Saturday 24 March 2018 03:54:19 PM

McGrath Urges DE To Make Call On School Closures
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Following the arrival of Storm Emma, hundreds of schools have already had to close today (Thursday) across the North of Ireland.

SDLP Children and Young People Spokesperson Colin McGrath has contacted the Department of Education (DE) and Education Authority to ask that any further closures to schools be announced this evening so that parents can plan ahead.

South Down SDLP MLA Colin McGrath.

The South Down MLA said: “The treacherous weather conditions have already hit home for many people across the North with the arrival of strong winds and snow from Storm Emma.

“With severe weather there comes serious challenges for many of our public services including our schools. Already, we have seen hundreds of school closures in areas badly affected. While this is necessary in order to ensure the safety of our children, decisions are often taken at the last minute which leads to further disruption and challenges for parents.

“Today, I have contacted the Department and Education Authority to request that if there is to be further closures for schools tomorrow, then it is imperative that they make that call later today. Parents need time to arrange childcare.

“I understand that individual schools make the decision to close but as some waited until nearly 8am this morning to inform parents, they would appreciate a decision being taken tonight rather than in the morning where it is obvious tonight there is no change due.

“I do understand that the weather is not entirely predictable, but I firmly believe that every effort must be made to make the call later today. Asking parents to make arrangements early in the morning a few hours before school is scheduled to begin is unfair and impractical.”