THE region's schools re-opened yesterday - to the relief of parents and businesses.

On Monday, almost 100 schools in County Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool and North Yorkshire were closed.

Yesterday, just a handful remained shut, some because footpaths were considered too slippery for students and others because they had prepared for worsening conditions, which never arrived.

Eastbourne Comprehensive, in Darlington, was particularly badly hit by the snowy weather and yesterday had no heating, a leaking roof, a flooded computer room and maths department, 12 closed classrooms and a sodden electric circuit.

On Monday, the snowy weather conditions saw 69 schools in County Durham closed. Yesterday, just two schools remained shut because of the weather - Glen Dene Special School, in Easington Colliery, and Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School, in Peterlee.

In North Yorkshire, just three schools out of 14 which were closed on Monday remained closed. They were Appleton Wiske School, in Appleton Wiske, near Northallerton, St George's Primary School, Scarborough, and Arkengarthdale Primary School, near Richmond.

On Teesside, Nunthorpe School, in Middlesbrough was closed after the headteacher of the school sent home letters with students on Monday which said the school would be closed on Tuesday due to the predicted adverse weather.

In Hartlepool, Jesmond Road Primary School remained shut after thawing snow flooded eight classrooms and destroyed the electrics. The school will re-open today.

In Darlington, just two schools - Eastbourne Comprehensive and Longfield Comprehensive stayed closed, extending the half-term holiday for hundreds of students.

Longfield opened to years ten and 11.

Karen Pemberton, headteacher of Eastbourne Comprehensive, said year 11 students would be returning to the school today, because they have exams next week.

Ms Pemberton said a burst pipe had flooded the maths department and the heating system for the whole school had broken.

In a separate incident, thawing snow started leaking through a hole in the roof above a computer room and the main electric box - which meant the electricity had to be turned off to a large chunk of the building.

She said year 11 students were going to be taught today in a part of the building which was unaffected and the school had been loaned six heaters. The school kitchens had been unaffected.

"Staff have been in school doing training, but it is absolutely freezing. We have 12 closed classrooms, it is an ongoing saga," she said.

Keith Cotgrave, headteacher of Longfield, said the school was kept open yesterday for years ten and 11, who have important examinations coming up. Years seven, eight and nine had the day off.

Schools have to abide to Government health and safety regulations and need to have one teacher for every 30 pupils.

Mr Cotgrave said: "We don't take these decisions lightly.

"We were told it was going to be the worst weather for 30 years, and I don't want anything to happen to my staff or pupils."

Although the weather is expected to worsen today, parents will be hoping schools stay open.

John Wright, regional and national vice-chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, agreed adverse weather conditions took their toll on businesses though staff absence.

He said: "It is a bigger toll on small businesses, because the one person missing can have a big effect.

"However, small businesses are generally more understanding and staff may be more conscious of letting the rest of the team down."