Dundee’s children and family services convener has apologised for the local council’s delayed response to the cold weather — and pledged it would do better.
Councillor Gregor Murray, committee convener, made the apology following Dundee City Council’s last-minute decision to keep schools open on Wednesday despite heavy snow disrupting travel on the roads.
It took the council until 7.22am — almost half an hour longer than its own deadline — Wednesday to announce that schools were open.
The move, just an hour and a half before classes were due to begin, attracted ire from parents on social media, who branded the snap decision “shocking” and “plain lunacy”.
One image shared from Baldragon Academy appeared to show pupils gathered in the assembly hall, with the poster claiming there weren’t enough teachers to lead classes.
The council’s late decision caught bus firm Xplore Dundee off-guard, with the operator only confirming school services with just over an hour until school began.
Dundee and Angus College closed its doors for the day, while around 40 schools were closed in the neighbouring authorities of Angus and Perth and Kinross, to the delight of local schoolchildren.
The Scottish Government and Police Scotland also issued warnings telling drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.
However, Councillor Murray defended the decision to keep the schools open on Wednesday.
“The decision was taken by the children and families executive following discussions with the council’s corporate risk managers, the roads team and colleagues in city development,” the convener explained.
“The main routes were clear, and conditions have improved. I still believe we made the right decision.
“However the communication wasn’t the absolute best. We said the decision would be at 7am, and I know every minute counts when you’re trying to get children ready in the morning. We should have been on the ball quicker and I apologise for the delay.
Jim Dale, senior risk meteorologist at British Weather Services, said while there may be “brief reprieves” from the snowy conditions, the hostile weather is set to continue into next week.
He said: “The temperatures will remain below zero – Tayside will remain ‘in the freezer’.
“It will be very icy, for the next 48 hours, but that shows little sign of waning. Tayside will see further intermittent snow showers at times.
“The moisture in the air will come in from the Beast from the East storm. Dundee will feel the effects but not quite as bad as other areas.
“But as it stands there is no foreseeable reprieve, for any length of time, from these freezing conditions. Our advice is to only travel if necessary.”