ALMOST nine out of every 10 schools in the county were closed yesterday as a blizzard of snow blanketed the county.
Staff closed 238 of Oxfordshire County Council’s 275 schools – 87 per cent – as parents left work in droves to pick up their children.
The domino effect of closures was triggered by heavy flurries shortly after 9am.
Elated youngsters took the chance to get out their sledges and many were spotted in fields and along the streets.
Some schools in the county did manage to stay open however.
Southwold School in Holm Way, Bicester, tested out a new policy where parents could collect children from lunchtime, or leave them in school until the end of the day as normal.
Acting deputy headteacher Emily Holloway said: “The children have absolutely loved it. We have been doing snow poetry and all sorts of snow related things in school today.
“We opened school as normal and as soon as the snow was falling dramatically any staff who lived outside Bicester went home.”
The children even built a snowman in their lunchbreak.
Pupil Ben Crawford, 10, said: “It took about half-an-hour to make – most of Key Stage 2 helped. It was a lot of fun. We couldn’t wait to get out there and play in the snow.”
Mother-of-two Victoria Morgan, 25, who lives in Upper Heyford, dropped her daughter Jessica at St Edburg’s School, in Bicester as normal, but went to pick her up less than two hours later after heavy snowfall.
She said: “This morning there was just a dusting of snow, by 10.45am there was a lot and we went back into Bicester to pick her up early. The roads were really bad by then.
“It wasn’t an inconvenience, it’s just one of those things. We don’t get snow that often so it’s not a problem.”
A string of cancellations, from musical events to leisure centre activities, followed as most of the county ground to a halt.
The weather forced Oxfordshire County Council to close every library in the county.
Following earlier warnings Vale of White Horse District Council stopped bin collections, as did South Oxfordshire District Council and Cherwell District Council.
And the public was reminded that emergency calls for ambulance, police and fire services should be made in genuine emergency situations only.
Bethan Morgan, the county council’s emergency planning officer, said: “As usual the council will seek to advise people as promptly as possible should any of our services be affected by the weather conditions. Of course, we also would ask people to drive to the conditions and take extra care.”