Dozens of Cambridge schools to close on day of Tour de France visit

Widespread travel disruption expected - but some query whether closures necessary

by Simon_MacMichael   May 20, 2014  

cambridge bikes.jpg

Dozens of schools in and around Cambridge have said that they will close or hold training days for staff when stage Stage 3 of the Tour de France starts in the city on Monday 7 July – with the grandmother of one child affected querying the necessity to do so.

According to Cambridge News, seven secondary and 30 primary schools in Cambridge itself and on the route of the stage as it heads towards London have taken the action because of worries over transport disruption, with some roads to be closed from the previous evening, and some not re-opening until Monday evening.

But 50-year-old Allain Goodlet, whose five-year-old grandson attends King’s Hedges Primary School, told the newspaper that on the same day her family received notice the school would be closing on the day the Tour visits Cambridge, a separate letter arrived that warned parents they could be prosecuted if they kept children away from school.

She said: “I just feel a lot of these schools are on the outskirts of town, nowhere near the Tour de France route.

“They say it’s difficult for staff to get to work, but I don’t think that’s a good enough excuse.

“You’ll be able to find a way. If a parent’s car broke down on the way to school and they said they couldn’t get in then I’m sure that wouldn’t count as exceptional circumstances.

“It seems double standards. I work as a community midwife and there’s no way we could get away with not going to work.”

The school’s head teacher, Jo Angel, said that governors had decided to close the school for the Tour “as a result of the local authority informing us that it will be difficult for school staff to get into school on that day due to the many road closures around the city for the Tour de France event taking place.”

Cambridge county council’s executive director for economy and transport, Graham Hughes, said: “We have also heard from a number of schools and academies which have been looking at the implications of the transport disruption and have been deciding whether they will open or close.

“These decisions are never easy but in taking them the headteachers have considered what they feel will be the impact of the race on their schools.”

Last month, Essex County Council wrote to school headteachers and chairs of governors to warn of road closures affecting transport to and from schools along the route through the county as it heads south, as well as those located in the Tour’s “bubble of impact.”

It warned of the possibility of pupils being stranded, and asked schools whether they planned to close on the day of the event.

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Just think of all those newspaper editors that are trying to decide right now whether this story is an opportunity to attack lazy teachers or bloody cyclists!

posted by bikebot [587 posts]
20th May 2014 - 18:24

30 Likes

Awesome. School's rubbish anyway, cycling's way better.

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1098 posts]
20th May 2014 - 18:50

18 Likes

bikebot wrote:
Just think of all those newspaper editors that are trying to decide right now whether this story is an opportunity to attack lazy teachers or bloody cyclists!

Sadly, a case for the #whynotboth meme.

posted by Dr_Lex [141 posts]
20th May 2014 - 19:20

12 Likes

It's an amazing event, hopefully the kids can go and watch. I can't think of a better reason to close schools. We are way to worried about business as usual in this country. Other European countries are far more laid back about the out of the ordinary happening.
Streets get closed for stuff in Europe, here it's a disaster. That's why their cultural identity still exists and ours got pushed into crappy scraps of land where nobody knows it's on.

posted by Belaroo [44 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:25

10 Likes

Belaroo wrote:
It's an amazing event, hopefully the kids can go and watch. I can't think of a better reason to close schools. We are way to worried about business as usual in this country. Other European countries are far more laid back about the out of the ordinary happening.

Absolutely. We watched the TT at the Tour of Britain last year near a primary school, with seemingly the whole school brought out to watch and cheer on the riders. The kids had made banners, brought flags to wave etc, and were absolutely buzzing when Wiggo came by. Great to see.

Is it really the end of the world letting some kids have the day off school in Cambridge so they can watch one of the world's great sporting events pass through their hometown?

posted by dp24 [193 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:52

7 Likes

All this kerfuffle over what is essentially a transition stage... Wink

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [225 posts]
20th May 2014 - 20:55

7 Likes

A day off Skool That'll teach em. Silly

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [592 posts]
20th May 2014 - 23:09

4 Likes

The road closures for Cambridge do seem to be excessive, as has already been covered on here

Remember not everyone's as into cycling as we are, and if you were a local who had to close your business for a day / take a day off work / find child care, I can see why you'd be miffed.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
21st May 2014 - 9:19

7 Likes