A SOUTHAMPTON headteacher has gone public with the reasons why he opted to close his school as the ‘Beast from the East’ grips the county.

James Rouse, head at St Anne’s Catholic School, issued a statement urging his students to “enjoy the snow” as it was a good “educational experience” for them, as some have never seen it before.

Mr Rouse, who got the top job at the Carlton Road school in September, said on social media that closing a school is "always controversial" and that he “got very little sleep” trying to make a decision on it.

He said that because the Met Office had issued a yellow weather warning and that as the weather is predicted to worsen rather than improve the school had a responsibility to ensure the pupils would be safe.

On the school’s website, Mr Rouse posted: “It is inevitable that such a decision will please many people and upset others.

“It is never an easy decision to make.”

The post added: “Of course, this could be the wrong decision. The snow might stop and it all be gone by early afternoon.

“Deciding to close a school is always a bit of a gamble, but gambling on the safety of pupils is not one we take.

“Enjoy the snow. For some girls this is the first time they have seen it. What an educational experience that will be.”

Hundreds of schools across the city closed as the snow continues to fall in Hampshire.

Hampshire has already experienced cold weather and Farnborough recorded a low of minus 11C (12.2F) on Tuesday night, but for most places the mercury hovered at between minus 4C (24.8F) and minus 7C (19.4F).

Forecasters predict the snow and freezing temperatures will continue, prompting the Met Office to extend some of its weather warnings.