Stefan Drew, FHE Marketing Consultant

Following on from my recent feature on The Impact of Snow Days on Learning and Financial Viability I note that all schools were open on Easter Monday to make up for the lack of teaching due to the recent snow.

Far fetched?

No, it’s perfectly true. Schools in North Carolina were running as normal on Easter Monday to make up for lost teaching time due to recent snow days.

Don’t All American Schools Open on Easter Monday?

No. Most states don’t celebrate Easter Monday with a federal holiday. But North Carolina is an exception to this rule, they normally take a holiday; except when they need to make up time lost to snow.

It’s Not Really About America or Easter Monday

But making up for lost teaching time isn’t really about America, Easter Monday or any other holiday. It goes far deeper than that. It goes to the very core of our values, fairness and the law and it affects both schools and colleges.

Before moving onto the FE situation lets first think about schools. We can argue about what the purpose of education really is but I’m sure most of us would accept that as well as educating our children in the 3Rs, and a few other subjects, school also has a role in establishing values.

So, as well as owing our children their full entitlement to education we should be making it clear to pupils that they can’t just skip school. For example, on the basis that they are missing valuable teaching days, we don’t allow their parents to take them out of school for a holiday. So how can we argue that days missed due to bad weather don’t need making up?

This isn’t an argument about a single day off. Looking back over my life I realise that in January and February 1963 I missed weeks of schooling. The weather was the coldest since the 1600s and at Herne Bay the sea froze for a mile out to sea. In Oxford it was so cold that, on January 22nd, a car was driven across the frozen Thames. In the south west we had 20-foot-deep snow drifts. And it wasn’t just mainland Britain; the Isle of Man suffered blizzards with winds speeds of up to 119 mph.

So, in extreme conditions snow could mean no school or college for prolonged periods.

So how can we instil values around the importance of education and learning, personal and societal responsibility plus a host of other things if we do not insist that lost time is made up?

One way might be to follow the example of the Fuse School organisation. FuseSchool is a global education charity, with 130,000 subscribers, that makes animated, bitesize videos covering a range of subjects. They also excel in taking the best teachers and recording their explanations into bitesize audios.

FuseSchool is known to me via their overseas work. Especially recent work in Cape Town where they taught Algebra via lessons downloaded on to low cost mobile phones. I’m planning a full article on FuseSchool in future but, in the meantime, consider this. If they can do this why can’t FE start using these teaching methods? They could be used on Snow Days initially and perhaps extended across the curriculum over time. Some of the current FuseSchool material would suit FE courses, but it’s likely that new material would be needed for vocational areas. Producing it seems to me to be something that the AOC or the Awarding Bodies might want to take a lead in rather than individual colleges. Working in conjunction with FuseSchools might make sense as well.

FE Faces A Legal Challenge

In recent months we’ve seen cases brought against universities where students claim they have been short changed. In some cases the claims have focused on teaching quality and the absence of tutors.

Where students pay for their education, they are consumers. The law is clear that a contract exists between consumers and sellers, sometimes its explicit and some time implicit. But where a course is advertised on a provider’s website, or in a prospectus, the consumer will argue that course dates and often the contact time is clearly or implicitly stated.

It therefore stands to reason that this is what the consumer expects and is arguably entitled to. Individuals and employers may well therefore decide that if they have not been delivered a full course then they have the right to a refund. And in the worse case scenario, perhaps where a student fails an exam, may well blame the provider and claim they are in breach of contract.

You may think this is unfair where bad weather has caused the closure; but what is your strategy for delivering a full entitlement? It might be that you offer an online option with a tutor at the end of a phone, a VLE or social media. Or it might be that you decide the logical way forward is to add bad weather days into your timetable.

I don’t believe we can ignore this issue. In a court it might be very hard to justify not opening or replacing lost teaching time.

Take a recent example when a local college closed. The college decided that for health and safety reasons they would close, and I cannot fault their actions. But children’s nurseries local to the college remained open and I wonder how a barrister would present this in court. Even if the decision to close was accepted by the court, the PR around this could be an issue. And if the time was not made up then I believe it is likely that the consumers would be deemed to have made a case against the provider.

I don’t envy providers having to make these decisions. It can’t be easy. But I believe they now need to seriously consider their strategy for snow day closures of various lengths.

Stefan Drew, FHE Marketing Consultant

About Stefan Drew: Stefan was previously director of marketing at two FHE colleges and for over a decade has consulted with colleges, universities and private providers in the UK, Europe, Africa and the US. 

Underfunded Education.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 1 hour 50 minutes ago

Global citizens and scientists shine hope on how to achieve a thriving net zero future: New international COP26 pro…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page