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Alyn and Deeside

Snowflake council in Flintshire labelled ‘shameful’ for shutting every school before single flake of snow fell.

Facebook post FM - 8th feb 2024

As a mother of 3 kids, we as a family unit juggle schools, work, and family time, as well as the struggle to make ends meet. and the decision by the councils to shut every one of its schools before a single flake of snow had fallen is beyond a joke.

I appreciate this as I call it, but it’s becoming a Nanny state, I understand they must look after the health and safety of the children, but there was no SNOW, or are using this as an excuse to hide behind bigger issues?

Do they not realise the repercussions of their decisions?

On speaking to some of the other parents in the What’s App group I can only use the words labelled “annoying and frustrating” and also “Shameful” by some furious parents.

Flintshire County Council decided yesterday that all of its 78 schools should shut after the Met Office issued two weather alerts for snow before even 1 flake of snow had landed.

It was the only Flintshire County that chose to take that blanket decision – despite five other counties also being included in the weather warnings.

To my knowledge, only one other school in Wrexham closed that day which was reported as Rhosnesni High School, Wrexham and Coleg Cambria sites were also closed due to the predicted bad weather, with six further schools closed in Powys all in Rural and mountainous areas, so what made Flintshire so dangerous over these?

The late notice and emails and texts left many parents like myself scrambling to arrange childcare cover, and working from home and felt the move was premature.

There were reports of snow falling in Buckley and in Wrexham but very little disruption. Many of my friends and local councillors took to Flintshire council’s website, and to local Facebook pages to express their upset.



One other parent wrote: “Even the BBC predicted some sleet but clearing to rain by 11.00….. so that is no reason whatsoever to close schools. The lockdown was bad enough for our children to miss out on vital schooling. Sleet and rain in NO excuse whatsoever. Get a grip Flintshire County Council.”

Another said: “Absolute disgrace, closing all schools, causing parents to lose money due to not being able to work.”

A third added: “Wonder how many parents have had to take a day off because their kids aren’t in school, while another local said: “Embarrassing decision from Flintshire Council.”

Another added: “They should be ashamed. Utterly ridiculous. All the parents have to juggle and lose pay cos of their panic. Have they learnt nothing from the shitshow that was closing schools during the pandemic?!”

Another added: “It’s not the schools’ fault it’s that stupid council who needs to find a brain cell”

Another added: “That’s right kids love to go in the snow to school what’s the matter with everyone at Flintshire health and safety gone mad rules need to be relaxed a bit now it’s gone too far.”

Another added: “A bit of a stiff breeze next week close em now ffs, schools used to stay open when the snow was 2 foot deep, had to walk to school or got a size 10 booting you up the arse.”

Another added that: “don’t want to spend money on grit/salt…as they know putting it down ruins our already ruined roads.”

Another added: “It should be the head teacher’s decision, not the council as each school is affected differently.
They made the same cockup about 18 months ago when it was forecast gales and it turned out to be a mid-breeze
Leave it to the local heads !!!”

When we asked the head for an explanation she stated “We had an email yesterday giving us instructions to close the school and that’s what we’ve done. We heard the warning had been upgraded to amber and there were several meetings at the county level to discuss the situation. We have to consider safety issues, there’s nothing worse than snow falling at lunchtime and then the worry about how everybody will get home safely.”

In reading the leader newspaper we have seen the statement from the leader of Flintshire Council, which in our eyes is just passing the buck.

Chief executive of Flintshire County Council, Neal Cockerton, said: “The decision to close schools was taken by the Council’s Emergency Management Response Team (EMRT) based on data provided by the Met Office on Wednesday afternoon which placed many parts of the county on an amber alert for snow on Thursday, as well as tactical information presented by the police at a regional emergency meeting.

“An amber warning means that only essential travel is advised, and only if safe to do so. As a Council, we took a proactive approach rather than waiting for a potentially risky situation to develop. Our aim was to avoid children being stranded at bus stops should school transport have to be cancelled or face being sent home during the day which is more difficult to manage.
“While we understand that some parents and carers may feel frustrated by the decision, it was taken in the best interests of the communities we serve.” – Flintshire Leader 08.02.2024

As a parent, we would prefer if our children’s education and welfare were under the guidance of the school and were trained and educated to look after the needs of our children,  and makes us think there was more at play than the Council has let on.

In Hawarden the other day where my young son goes, they had 10+ teachers off in one day, and this is a regular occurrence, as well as shortages right across the school system.

One of the teachers travels from Nantwich we found out on a parent’s evening, so the closure of the schools brings more questions than answers, especially with the essential travel.

Was this more to do with cost, than direct Health and safety for the children and staff?

1. Were they worried the teachers who live out of the area would not make it in with weather warnings so closed the schools first as they would not have the adequate staff to cover the classes?
2. Did they not want to turn the heating up, due to the sharp cold spell which would raise costs?
3. Did they not have the funds to salt the roads or the staff to drive the snowploughs to clear if it did snow?
4. Are there too many potholes in the roads to make them dangerous when covered in snow to both cars and people?

Did Flintshire realise the problems their Blanket decisions would cause to their local communities, or did they just not care?

But why should we not be surprised, they are run by Labour who has a track record of making blanket decisions to make life difficult for its people with the 20mph limit, and to make their lives easier, and sometimes for the sake of their gains.

They do not care about the decisions they make placing many of my friends and other parents in stressful and difficult situations as well as:

1. In financial hardship
2. People lost money due to giving up a day’s work.
3. People had to find money to feed their children who would normally eat in school.
4. People would have to heat their homes through the day at extra cost.
5. Those young people without internet or computers would be left behind again due to not being able to join online learning.

Let’s hope next time, they leave the decision-making to the experts, or at least consult the parent groups in the interim and ask for their feedback, but I won’t hold my breath.

What I will state is a few of our local councillors who are Independent did a great job of communicating with a lot of unhappy people online and helping us throughout the day with updates and information that we could not get from other places, and not once did I see any from labour or Flintshire council helping support our concerns, maybe it is because there was not a photo opportunity for them to attend.