Children must get their “full time in education” the boss of the schools watchdog has said, as she referred to the US practice of adding on an extra day of lessons if there are weather closures.
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said it would be a “decision for ministers” whether or not the same thing should happen in England’s schools.
Ms Spielman was speaking on Tuesday as a number of schools across the country have been forced to close for a second day due to the freezing weather.
“So for me, really, a school needs to be open or closed. In America, they add a day on later on in the school year, if they close for a snow day when transport isn’t possible. It really is important that the default is keeping schools open. Obviously, there are circumstances in which that isn’t possible.”
Asked if she thinks all schools should do that, she replied: “Well, that would be a decision for ministers. But children have lost a lot of education. For me, it’s really important making sure that children get their full time in education so they can get the benefit of it.”
Ms Spielman published her annual report on education and social care on Tuesday, and described ongoing school absences as a “deep and concerning problem”.
She warned that a minority of families appear to have “lost sight” of the expectation that children should be sent out every morning to be educated in person, after school closures amid the pandemic broke down the structure and routine of “getting children up and to school every day”.
The Government leaves it up to individual schools and local authorities to decide what to do in adverse weather conditions and says it is confident action is based on a common-sense approach.
Schools which temporarily close during severe weather are advised to consider providing remote learning in line with Department for Education guidance.