HEAVY snow and freezing temperatures have left the UK in chaos as an artic blast sweeps the nation.
Severe travel delays and school closures have been announced, while a -10C freeze saw the UK register temperatures colder than Finland.
However, parents of schoolchildren not covered by widespread school closures may wonder if they are allowed to keep their little ones at home because of the snow and ice – here's everything you need to know.
As much as the kids love a day off, there's actually no guarantee of classes being cancelled just because it's snowing.
Since October 2012, there has not been a specific temperature, below which teachers have to send kids home.
The School Premises (England) Regulations 2012 don't specify a safe classroom temperature, although the National Education Union advises a minimum of 18C.
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It is entirely up to headteachers as to whether or not they close their school.
They will take a number of things, such as the road conditions and the availability of staff, into consideration.
A decision will usually be made before 7am and a text or email sent out to all parents.
However, if your child's school has not been closed, then they are expected to attend.
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Under government rules, their absence can be treated as unexplained and result in the same penalties as any other case in which they didn't go to school without a reason.
Local councils can slap parents with fines of £60 for each absence, rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days.
If you don't pay the fine within 28 days you could be prosecuted.
Other possible sanctions include a parenting order, which forces you to attend parenting classes, or an Education Supervision Order, under which a council supervisor will get your child into school.
Parents could even be fined up to £2,500 and given a three month jail sentence if prosecuted, but this usually only happens in cases of repeated absence or refusal to enroll your child in full-time education.
However, if you have a good reason to keep your child home, such as being unable to safely travel in to school, it could be worth calling your headteacher and letting them know.
Even if the school is open, they may accept your particular reason and allow you to keep your child at home.
If you are keeping the kids at home, it is important to inform your school and give them a reason so that it's not treated as an unexplained absence.
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