Principal defends decision to keep Neale Wade school open despite website campaign to close

PUBLISHED: 12:50 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:25 02 June 2010

snow pix in March Dec 2009

snow pix in March Dec 2009

STUDENTS told to turn up as normal today to a Fenland school launched a protest campaign on the school s own web site. By mid day over 80 students had logged comments onto the website of the Neale Wade Community College, March, many of them upset that th

snow pix in March Dec 2009

STUDENTS told to turn up as normal today to a Fenland school launched a protest campaign on the school's own web site.

By mid day over 80 students had logged comments onto the website of the Neale Wade Community College, March, many of them upset that the principal Tim Hitch had opened the gates as normal.

Cambridgeshire County Council insists it is up to each school to make their own decision- and at the Neale Wade the decision was taken at 6am that it would be business as usual.

Despite secondary schools in Chatteris, Whittlesey and Wisbech closed because of the snow, many students remained unhappy.

snow pix in March Dec 2009

However Mr Hitch was adamant he had made the right decision to open "since I felt it important to bring the term to a satisfactory end. We have lots of happy students and they're all leaving at lunchtime, many of them going the drive throwing snow balls".

Mr Hitch said he understood those parents who kept their children away for the day, and he recognised some school buses weren't operating.

And he also appreciated that some staff that live in "deepest Norfolk" and Cambridge had difficulties getting to school, although some staff from Ely did make it in.

"I suppose 50 per cent say you're right, and 50 per cent say you're wrong," said Mr Hitch. "I'm sorry for the children not able to attend today; it would have been disappointing for them. We had staff leaving the school today and I thought, too, it was right to say a proper good bye to them."

He added that he also took into account the thoughts of parents who would want, if possible, to keep the school open.

"We are not just an education factory, but we have a community responsibility, too" he added.

On the school's website, however, many of the students were against the school opening, although there was a handful who thought it right to stay open.

One student pleaded: "Please, please, please don't make me go to school in this snow. I really really don't like being wet".

"Pretty bad and more to come" wrote another whilst a year 9 student says he "couldn't see the point and it's only for a half day anyway".

Another student said they "really don't want to have to go to school- it is horrible and I don't want to sit in lessons wet from the snow".

A year 10 pupil said they lived out of March so "please consider closing for the sake of us people that have to travel in".

Around 600 students - nearly half of the school's roll- turned up today, although none took up the suggestion of one student who filed a comment at 7.19am.

"Line up all the students and teachers outside the school, including you Mr Hitch, and have the largest snowball fight in history between teachers and students. The winner decides on the outcome of the day- Neale Wade open or shut!. Let the battles commence."

An A level student felt above the blogging, since they had already broken up but he felt it "unlucky for the lower school going in. We can make snow men whilst the lower school are working their socks off, ha ha."

Carl wrote that he was off to Kings Lynn for the day, whilst a "happy mother" was grateful the school stayed open since she could finish her Christmas shopping in peace.

A total of 110 schools closed across Cambridgeshire today.

The other secondary schools to remain open in the county are Comberton Village College, Gamlingay Village College and St Bede's Inter-Church School, Cambridge.


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