FSB counts business cost of closed schools

January 7th, 2010 by Chris St Cartmail

Businesses are inevitably suffering because of Britain's cold snap, but head teachers can do their bit by not closing schools too readily. That's what the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has to say about the matter, as thousands of schools across the country shut up shop during the freeze.

According to the organisation's Stephen Alambritis, a lot of companies in the UK suffering from staff shortages are feeling the sting of parents forced to stay at home to look after their offspring. A firm employing four people, he noted, loses half its workforce if two people have to be at home because their children have been sent home from school.

While the FSB "appreciates" parents' predicament, he told BBC Radio 4, the body is concerned that officials haven't sat down and thought through "a code of practice" to make sure schools are closed only in exceptional circumstances.

Alambritis added: "We all know that the vast majority of children are within a small catchment area to attend school and so there is a concern that head teachers may be closing schools unnecessarily."

Representatives for schools and colleges have countered that decisions about closures are made on the basis of a given school's local situation.