Pupils banned from playing in the snow

Share this article

CHILDREN have been banned from playing in the snow during break times at city schools due to health and safety fears.

Pupils in some primaries have been kept inside during their morning and lunchtime breaks since the schools re-opened on Wednesday.

The decision to stop the pupils playing in the snow has sparked criticism among parents, who believe it is "misguided" and is depriving children from enjoying the winter fun.

One of the schools involved is James Gillespie's Primary where the headteacher stopped youngsters going out on Wednesday and Thursday during playtimes.

It is understood reasons including the depth of the snow, a shortage of staff to supervise the children and the resulting mess from pupils walking with wet boots into the building were cited for the decision.

One parent said: "I'm very annoyed that my daughter has now been kept indoors for six and a half hours for two days despite all the lovely snow.

"I'm a trained risk assessor and this is not a health and safety issue.

"If you spoke to the Health and Safety Executive, they would say the same.

"It is misguided but well-meaning headteachers who are taking these decisions because they think it's a health and safety issue, but it's not dangerous."

Green councillor Alison Johnstone, who represents the Meadows and Morningside ward which takes in Gillespie's Primary, believes children would benefit from being allowed to play outside in the snow.

She said: "We would like to see children being able to go out and enjoy play outdoors in this weather.

"We are not going to send them outside in a blizzard but there's no reason why they should be stopped from enjoying the snow during break times."

Cllr Johnstone added that with the introduction of the Curriculum For Excellence, which encourages cross-curricular working, the extreme conditions could offer children the chance to learn about the weather whilst enjoying it.

A spokesman for the council said it was up to individual headteachers to assess the playground risk and while some had kept children in, others had allowed them out to play.

"Schools have made a huge effort to open for pupils this week and they've had to assess the conditions in school grounds.

"We want pupils to go home in one piece so they are fit to build snowmen and go sledging."